Employers face COBRA deadline

East Lansing, MI – Kevin Lavery, WKAR Radio News

Employers in Michigan have until Saturday to tell workers about a new health care assistance program that will pay part of their premiums after they've been laid off.

The new assistance is part of the federal COBRA program.

It pays 65% of a worker's employer-sponsored coverage for up to nine months.

The benefit applies to workers who involuntarily lost their jobs from September 1, 2008 through February 16, 2009.

Amy Turner is with the U-S Department of Labor.

She says people should contact their health plan provider if they don't receive a notice and receive a bill that doesn't reflect a premium reduction.

The federal plan only covers employees laid off from businesses with 20 or more people.

In Michigan, workers from smaller companies are not eligible.