With over a half million jobs lost last month, we now have 11.1 million people looking for work. Those folks are probably also looking, in vain, for affordable health insurance. A new report from Families USA finds that continuing employer-based family health coverage after being laid off ("COBRA" coverage) costs 83.6% of the average unemployment benefit. Of course, if you're on your own, COBRA coverage generally takes "only" 30.4% of your unemployment check.
South Dakota's numbers are worse than the national average. Individual COBRA coverage costs 36% of an unemployment check. Family COBRA coverage eats 90% of the average $1,030 unemployment benefit. Have fun covering the mortgage, heat, groceries, and gas to get to job interviews with the remaining $103.
Read the full study: "Squeezed! Caught Between Unemployment Benefits and Health Care Costs," Families USA, January 2009.
"No one can afford to be without health insurance," says Ellen Laden of UnitedHealthcare's Golden Rule Insurance Company. But if you've lost your job, you can hardly afford to be with it.
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