In August, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a $2 million grant to provide about 1,800 North Carolina jobless workers with partial premium payments for health insurance coverage.
North Carolina Department of Commerce awarded the grant and will use it to make "gap filler" payments for unemployed individuals who are receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits and are eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) program, under which, eligible individuals and their family members can receive 80 percent of premium costs for qualified health insurance programs. The state of North Carolina will also provide two to three months of "gap filler" payments for the participants.
The funding will take some of the pressure off families who are trying hard to find new work in a tough economy and allow eligible out-of-work North Carolinians to maintain their health insurance. "The challenges associated with a job search are enough without worrying about a lack of health insurance if you or a family member fall ill or need medical attention," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "This funding will help eligible North Carolinians pay for health insurance while they seek out new careers that pay family-supporting wages and provide benefits for the long-term."
Funding for the grant comes from resources made available for health coverage National Emergency Grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.