Goodbye COBRA Subsidies

Through no fault of their own, millions of Americans who are victims of the Great Recession won't be able to afford healthcare -- at least until 2014 when the full weight of the healthcare reform bill goes into effect. We can only assume too many of them will either get really sick or they'll go bankrupt trying to pay for COBRA without the subsidy.

The federal subsidy that allows the unemployed to continue to receive coverage from their former employer's health insurance plan is set to end next week.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, known as COBRA, allows laid-off workers to keep their former employer's health insurance as long as they pay for it themselves. In 2009, the federal government provided a subsidy for COBRA that reduced the cost for the unemployed by 65 percent.

The average monthly cost of maintaining COBRA coverage without the subsidy is about $1,137 for a family policy and $410 for an individual, according to calculations from The Kaiser Family Foundation. With the subsidy, costs plummet to a more affordable $398 per month for a family and $144 for individuals.