Senate Bill Helps With Katrina Victim Health Coverage

September 15, 2005 ( - The federal government would subsidize group health insurance premiums of plans sponsored by employers in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina under a measure unveiled Wednesday by two US senators.

The measure, proposed by Finance Committee Chairman Senator Charles Grassley, (R-Iowa), and ranking minority member Senator Max Baucus, (D-Montana), calls for the creation of a new, federally funded Hurricane Katrina health care relief measure, according to Business Insurance.

The package allocates federal relief funds to be used to pay for health insurance premiums of those covered in group health plans that were established before Hurricane Katrina. This assistance would continue for several months.

Additionally, the proposal said technical changes in the law would be made to protect individuals eligible for COBRA health care continuation coverage. While experts say they are awaiting more detail, they say the provision could be intended to ensure that beneficiaries in Katrina-affected areas don’t lose their right to COBRA if they didn’t elect coverage or pay premiums on time.