As if losing their jobs and homes wasn't enough, Californians are struggling to keep their health insurance.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, gives people the option to maintain the same insurance they had when employed. But it doesn't make that insurance affordable, especially to those living on unemployment checks.
Premiums consume 81.6 percent of the typical Californian's unemployment insurance benefit, according to a recently released study by the health care consumer advocacy group Families USA. The state average unemployment benefit is $1,322 a month. The average COBRA premium for a family costs $1,069.
As the state's unemployment rate reached 9.3 percent in December, up from 5.9 percent during the same period the previous year, the ranks of the uninsured are believed to be growing, too.
"As people lose their jobs, they lose their health insurance," said Rich Brown, director of UCLA's Center for Health Policy Research.
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