Pension & Benefits News Bill would cover the cost of health premiums during COVID-19 emergency
Thursday, April 23, 2020

Bill would cover the cost of health premiums during COVID-19 emergency

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

Representatives Robert C. Scott (D-Va.), Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) have introduced the Worker Health Coverage Protection Act to help workers maintain employment-based health insurance coverage in response to an unprecedented wave of layoffs and furloughs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would provide federal assistance to cover the full cost of COBRA premiums for workers who have been laid off or the full cost of health insurance premiums owed by workers who are furloughed.

“In the midst of a public health crisis, it is critical that workers and their families maintain access to affordable health care,” Scott said. “Over the past three weeks, nearly 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment, and many of them are at risk of losing access to their employment-based health care coverage. The Worker Health Coverage Protection Act would provide immediate relief to workers and families by making sure they do not lose their health insurance in the middle of a pandemic.”

By helping workers maintain their existing coverage, the proposal would mean workers would not have to change plans, leave their provider networks, restart annual deductibles, or face a potential coverage gap, the House Democrats said. The bill is modeled after a similar program enacted in 2009 by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which subsidized COBRA coverage for workers impacted during the Great Recession.


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