For laid-off workers, new law takes sting out of COBRA premiums

When Elizabeth Romanaux was laid off from the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J. on Feb. 27, she was hired back almost immediately to work three days a week doing grant writing and public relations for the museum, located just outside New York City.

"I'm grateful for the work; it's still fun to do even though the circumstances have changed," said Romanaux, 53. That included a loss of her health insurance benefit, a "painful blow" for the science center's former vice president of communications.

But thanks to a new law, Romanaux enjoys the same medical and vision benefits as before -- and pays just $140 a month, meaning she will save more than $2,300 over the course of 2009.