Latest Extension of COBRA Premium Subsidy

March 10, 2010

The 65% COBRA premium subsidy has recently been extended.  Under the “Temporary Extensions Act of 2010,” the subsidy will now apply to involuntary terminations occurring on or before March 31, 2010 (rather than February 28, 2010).

Under the new extension, certain individuals who experienced a reduction in work hours before the Extension Act’s March 2 enactment date, and who are involuntarily terminated on or after that date, may now qualify for the subsidy.

If you have had your hours of work reduced between September 1, 2009 and March 2, 2010 and then were terminated on or after March 2, 2010 you may qualify for the 65% COBRA reduction.  If you have questions concerning whether you qualify for the COBRA premium reduction, please contact Jensen Law Office, LLC to further discuss your situation.

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Cobra Benefits and Premium Reduction

January 28, 2010

Under Illinois and Federal Law, when an employee who has health insurance through their employer loses their insurance through a reduction in hours or a loss of job, they, and their spouse and children, may be eligible for up to a 15 month continuation of benefits under COBRA or similar state laws. Normally under COBRA, the former employee is responsible for the entire COBRA premium, plus potentially an administrative fee. 

Under the Federal Stimulus package (ARRA) and its extension signed on December 11, 2009, individuals who lose group health coverage because of an involuntary termination between September 1, 2008, and February 28, 2010, may be eligible for a 65% reduction of their COBRA premiums for up to 15 months.  The state version, called “Mini-COBRA”, is applicable to small employers (under 20 employees) who offer insurance, and offers the same 65% reduction for up to 12 months. This means that instead of the job-less employee paying the full amount, they would only pay 35% of the COBRA premium. 

The stimulus package also provided a chance for some individuals to opt in to COBRA coverage even after their initial coverage window expired.  Some individuals who were already terminated after September 1, 2008 but before February 16, 2009 were to receive a notice of the ARRA provided premium reduction and a second chance to opt-in to coverage.  Individuals should have received that notice by April 18, 2009, and had 60 days to elect COBRA coverage, despite missing their first COBRA coverage opportunity. 

Under COBRA, there is a limited amount of time to elect coverage, with some very strict enforcement of deadlines, so act quickly. If you are having problems with your employer or your insurer regarding your COBRA benefits, or were recently terminated and need to discuss COBRA benefits, please contact Jensen Law Office, LLC to further discuss your situation.


Unemployment Appeal Hearing

September 17, 2009

Jensen Law Office, LLC recently was successful in reversing a local Unemployment office’s decision to deny benefits due to alleged misconduct at a recent Unemployment Appeal hearing.  If you have been wrongfully denied your unemployment benefits, contact Jensen Law Office, LLC to discuss your situation.


Unemployment Appeals

September 8, 2009

In Illinois, employees are eligible to receive unemployment benefits if they are out of work or suffer a significant decrease of hours through no fault of their own.  While each situation is unique, and can vary based on the involved facts, typically if you are fired or laid off by your employer, you will be eligible for benefits unless you are accused of misconduct.  Even if you quit or resign, you may be eligible for benefits, depending on the facts of your situation.

Initially, discharged employees file unemployment at their local office and receive a determination from a local investigator.  However, once the local office has rendered their decision, it is not always final.  The party that was ruled against (an employee that was denied benefits or an employer that was required to pay benefits) can appeal the decision to a hearing officer.  If you lose an appeal of benefits that you have already started to receive, you may be required to repayment those benefits to the state.

The attorneys from Jensen Law Office, LLC represent those people going through the appeal process by assisting in their preparation for the appeal hearing, identifying and interviewing witnesses as needed, reviewing documentation, and providing legal counsel through the appeal hearing and any further proceedings.  Please contact Jensen Law Office, LLC as early in the appeal process as possible to allow for preparation time for these court-like hearings.