Will Unemployment Be Extented Past 99 Weeks In New York State?


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The real issue for unemployed residents of New York State is subsidized COBRA healthcare. Last summer (2009) the state legislature passed and the governor signed into law a state COBRA extension from 18 months (Federal) to 36 months for state residents. This will help those who exhaust their 18 months of Federal COBRA benefits and are still unable to find affordable healthcare insurance. However, the state COBRA extension does not allow for any premium subsidy (currently those on Federal COBRA are eligible for a 65% premuim subsidy for 15 of the 18 month Federal COBRA period). Hopefully, assuming the economy continues to flounder, federal legislators will extend the COBRA premium subsidy to the full 18 month Federal COBRA duration and/or expand COBRA to 24 or even 36 months with the premium subsidy. If that does not happen, then New York State legislators should have the guts to pass a similar state premium subsidy for NYS residents covering the remaining 18 months of state COBRA eligibility. The subsidy should be subsidized, in whole or in part, by a punitive windfall profits tax on the bonuses of executuves at Wall Street investment houses, banks and insurance companies who accepted TARP (federal bailout) funds. That means, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and especially AIG. If you are a New York State resident in need of a continuing subsidy to be able to afford COBRA, you should start deluging your elected representatives for a premium subsidy on state COBRA.

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