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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

EBSA News Release: [04/07/2011]
Contact Name: Michael Trupo or Jason Surbey
Phone Number: (202) 693-3414 or x4668
Release Number: 11-0493-NAT

Statement by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on COBRA’s 25th anniversary

WASHINGTON For 25 years, the health insurance continuation provisions in the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, better known as COBRA, have guaranteed that when workers and their families face certain life events, they have the opportunity to maintain their health care coverage. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement marking this anniversary:

"Today marks a quarter century since the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 became law. During that time COBRA has helped some 50 million workers — and their families — maintain affordable health coverage.

"COBRA gives workers a means of maintaining coverage by group health insurance plans even when faced with such challenging life events as job loss, divorce, or the death of a spouse.

"More recently, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided additional support to these workers and their families. The help came in the form of a 65 percent premium for workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. This made it easier for those individuals to keep health coverage for themselves and their loved ones during what can be a period of tremendous economic and personal stress.

"For 25 years, COBRA has been an essential safety net for those workers who play by the rules, yet still find themselves weathering difficult times. It ensures that they can continue their health coverage while getting back on their feet. That spirit — of responsible and responsive service to those who work hard and play by the rules, but sometimes need a hand up — is in line with the commitment of the Department of Labor to the working men and women of our nation.

"Under President Obama's leadership, we are working tirelessly to ensure that, as our economy recovers, it continues to provide quality, safe jobs for everyone. And, we are focused on ensuring that these jobs offer not just a means for Americans to provide for their families but also the very health coverage benefits that COBRA helps keep in place during times of need."