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Breaking News: Lower-Earning Workers Can't Afford COBRA

If you earn a smaller income, you're far less likely to access COBRA benefits than someone who earns more money.

Roughly 57% of Americans who lost their jobs between 2008 and 2010 went uninsured, according to a new Commonwealth Fund survey. As a result, nearly three-fourths of these former employees (72%) stopped going to the doctor, stopped filling prescriptions and stopped going to follow-up visits.

But what about COBRA, the nice-to-know-it's-there-but-gut-punchingly-expensive-if-you-actually-need-to-use-it way for the newly unemployed to stay on their health insurance plan? In a totally not shocking development, Commonwealth reports that 70% of low-income earners went completely uninsured after job loss between 2008 and 2010 compared to 42% of higher-earning earners. In fact, only 8% of lower-income workers accessed COBRA benefits versus 21% of those earning a higher income.

If you've ever used COBRA, then you know how expensive the monthly payment can be. So it's not very surprising that lower-income workers are more likely to endure unemployment without any health coverage.

You can find Commonwealth Fund's report here.


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