One of the most difficult things about being laid off is the loss of medical benefits. Unemployment covers wages, but the cost to continue medical benefits can be thousands of dollars a month.
Under the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), 100% of premiums for COBRA or state continuation coverage must be paid by the employer beginning April 1, 2021. The benefit will last for six months maximum and has a retroactive back to before the COVID-19 outbreak began. Depending upon the employer location, if it is state continuation vs. COBRA then the retroactive period may be greater. However, at a minimum, it is an 18-month look-back, i.e. November 2019.
This new law also applies to employees who lose medical benefits when hours are reduced from full-time to part-time. Employees who did not initially elect COBRA or health continuation also get a “second bite at the apple” and can claim this new benefit.