GM moves striking UAW members to COBRA healthcare coverage

'We understand strikes are difficult and disruptive to families'

DETROIT – General Motors has moved all striking United Autoworkers (UAW) union members to COBRA health insurance coverage.

This does not mean UAW members go without health insurance. Instead they will be transferred over to a UAW plan that is paid for by the UAW strike fund.

"We understand strikes are difficult and disruptive to families. While on strike, some benefits shift to being funded by the union's strike fund, and in this case hourly employees are eligible for union-paid COBRA so their health care benefits can continue," reads a statement from GM.

COBRA stands for "Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act." It is available under a federal law that may allow you to temporarily keep health coverage after your employment ends, you lose coverage as a dependent of the covered employee, or another qualifying event.

Union leadership had asked the automaker to continue health care benefits for striking workers through the end of September, but GM made the move to COBRA effective Tuesday, Sept. 17.

Leaders of the UAW union decided to initiate a strike Sunday against General Motors as contract negotiations went beyond a weekend deadline.

Workers started walking off the job over the weekend and by Monday morning about 50,000 union members were not reporting to their plants and manufacturing facilities.

Negotiations stopped without a deal Monday night, but talks were set to resume Tuesday morning.

Follow live updates here.

UAW strike assistance

According to the UAW, weekly strike pay is $250 per week -- $50 per day, Monday through Friday, beginning on the 8th day of a strike.

The UAW Strike and Defense Fund covers certain benefits such as medical and prescription drugs.  Benefits not covered include: dental, vision, hearing and sick and accident.

These benefits are either paid directly by the Strike and Defense Fund according to the company's current plan or by having the Strike and Defense Fund make COBRA payments to the company plan.

For more information on who is eligible for these benefits, go here.

UAW strike against General Motors enters second day -- watch:

Union workers will strike for a second day.

Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit will be following this developing story -- follow live updates on the strike here:

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.