Two separate bills have been introduced, one which is more expansive than the other. The smaller of the two bills is HR 3966, which would only extend the ARRA subsidy for involuntary terminations and loss of coverage occurring through June 30, 2010. However, the larger bill is HR 3930, and includes the following provisions:
Qualifying events with the 18-month COBRA period would be extended to 24 months for any termination of employment (voluntary or involuntary) or reduction of hours that occurred during the 21-month period starting on April 1, 2008, and ending on December 31, 2009. Further, if an individual’s COBRA coverage already expired before the law is passed, affected qualified beneficiaries would have a second election right to obtain the additional six months of coverage.
The ARRA subsidy would be extended for involuntary terminations and loss of coverage occurring through June 30, 2010. Further, all ARRA subsidies would continue for up to 15 months (current 9 months plus an additional 6 months under the proposal), but all subsidies would end by December 31, 2010 regardless of the new 15-month rule.
These bills have been introduced in the House and are currently in committee; however, they have not reached the House floor for a full vote. The Senators Brown and Casey have introduced S.2730 in the Senate, a bill which extends COBRA as would HR 3930, but would also increae the subsidy from 65% TO 75%. Stay tuned to the Health and Wellness as a Business Strategy blog for updates on these bills.
Updated information provided by Joanne Flora.