President Obama has signed the Temporary Extension Act of 2010 (H.R. 4691), approving a stopgap, 31-day extension of federal subsidies of COBRA health care premiums as allowed under The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). This act was previously amended by the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010, and allowed workers who were involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008 and February 28, 2010 to be eligible for 65 percent COBRA subsidies. Workers who were involuntarily terminated after February 28 wouldn’t have been eligible for the COBRA subsidy unless Congress passed another extension.
Under H.R. 4691, the 65%, 15-month premium subsidy for involuntarily terminated workers is extended from March 1, 2010 through March 31, 2010. Without this extension, employees terminated involuntarily after February 28, 2010 would not have been eligible for the subsidy.
This measure will also allow employees to be eligible for the COBRA subsidy if a reduction in hours is followed by an involuntary termination of employment occurring after the enactment of this legislation.
The Senate is scheduled to begin debate this week on a measure that would extend the COBRA ARRA subsidy through December 31, 2010.
I will inform you as soon as model notices are posted on these updates.