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Lt. Gov. Roberts Reaches Out to Rhode Islanders to Ensure They Know About the Deadline to Receive Discounted Extended Health Benefits

Window Closing for Laid-Off Workers to Opt Back in to Rhode Island Extended Benefits

PROVIDENCE— Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts today held a press conference to ensure that all Rhode Islanders know about the last chance May 1st deadline to enroll to receive Rhode Island Extended Health Benefits. Joined by Rhode Island Health Insurance Commissioner Chris Koller, representatives from Rhode Island health insurers and unemployed workers who now have access to the discounted extended health benefits, Lt. Gov. Roberts urged all who qualify to enroll before the May 1st deadline.

“When we discovered that hundreds of out-of-work Rhode Islanders had fallen through the cracks and could not access the 65% federal stimulus subsidy for COBRA benefits, we acted quickly to pass legislation to open the window for them to enroll at a more affordable rate,” Roberts said. “Now time is of the essence, and those who are affected by this change in the law must act quickly and enroll before the window closes at the end of next week on Friday, May 1st.”

The recently passed legislation introduced by Roberts opened an enrollment period for individuals eligible for Rhode Island Extended Benefits (Mini-COBRA) who lost their jobs between September 1, 2008 and February 17, 2009, giving unemployed former workers from small businesses and businesses that have closed access to a 65% subsidy for health insurance under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The legislation allows those who lost their jobs to opt back in to the program now made more affordable by the federal subsidy. May 1, 2009 is the deadline for enrollment.

Frequently asked questions about the federal stimulus subsidy COBRA benefits, and links to access additional information are posted on the Lt. Governor’s website at Information is also available on the website of the Office of the Rhode Island Health Insurance Commissioner at

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