Labor Dept. awards funds for N.C. health insurance

Michael P. Tremoglie Jan. 16, 2012, 10:15am

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has provided a $2 million National Emergency Grant supplemental award providing an estimated 1,175 additional jobless workers in North Carolina with partial premium payments for health insurance coverage.

North Carolina qualified for the funds that were available from the economic stimulus passed by Congress in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The state has received a total of $6.2 million awarded to date. The number of jobless workers served to 5,375.

"Health insurance is an important benefit for millions of American workers and their families," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "These additional funds will ensure that these North Carolinians keep their health insurance while they search for new jobs."

The funds will be awarded to the North Carolina's Division of Employment and Training. It will be used to make payments for unemployed individuals who are receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits and are eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit. These are "gap filler" payments.

This funding covers up to three months or approximately the same amount of time the Internal Revenue Service can enroll the workers in the Health Coverage Tax Credit program. Through the credit, eligible individuals can receive 72.5 percent of premium costs for qualified health insurance programs.

National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor's discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state's ability to meet specific guidelines.

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