Fewer unemployed Americans than expected were aided by the federal subsidy that helps pay for COBRA health care coverage, partly because COBRA premiums were still unaffordable, cites a new article by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute.

The America Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a legislative attempt to lessen the impact of the recession, allowed the federal government to pay 65 percent of the premium for those covered by COBRA but lost their job between Sept. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009. Congress extended the subsidy, which was available for up to nine months, three times. The last extension was in April 2010.

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