COBRA relief for unemployed awaits action in Senate

Slowly but surely, the Pennsylvania General Assembly appears to be moving legislation to help workers laid-off by small employers keep their health insurance.

When an employee is laid off, federal law requires employers to offer the opportunity for the employee to continue the employer-based health insurance s/he (and dependents) enjoyed before being laid off.  Under the stimulus bill passed by Congress earlier this year, federal subsidies will pay 65 percent of the premium cost, thus making the insurance more affordable for the laid-off workers.

House to consider rate reform for small employers

When it returns to Harrisburg in June, the PA House of Representatives plans to give top priorioty to a bill that would bring greater stability and predictability to the chaotic small group health insurance market.

Does Specter support a public health insurance option?

In a May 8th letter to Health Care for America Now (HCAN), Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter conveyed his endorsement of HCAN's eight principles for national health care reform.

But the letter itself expressed reservations about two of those principles: a public health insurance plan and the use of the government's high-volume purchasing power to drive down the cost of prescription drugs.

20-somethings may stay on family health insurance

Young adults age 19-29 will be able to retain health coverage on family insurance plans under a bill approved by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives May 12.

Nearly 44 percent of the nearly 1 million uninsured, working-age adults in Pennsylvania are in this age group, according to an Insurance Department survey completed in 2008. That percentage has likely grown during the recession as high school and college graduates scramble to find jobs with benefits during a time of rising unemployment.

Lack of health coverage puts women, newborns at risk

Pennsylvania women without health insurance or health coverage of any kind give birth to an estimated 6,650 children annually. 

Nearly 268,000 Pennsylvania women of childbearing age (19-44) were uninsured last year, according to the 2008 Pennsylvania Health Insurance Survey. The estimate of 16,600 births is based on the fertility rate of 62 births per thousand Pennsylvania women.