Congress Introduces COBRA Subsidy Expansion Bills

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.

NYS Health Coverage Expansion Through Age 29

Effective September 1, 2009  the “Age 29” law, permits eligible young adults through the age of 29 to continue or obtain coverage through a parent’s group policy. Insurers will notify employees of this benefit. Employees or their eligible dependents may then elect the benefit and pay the premium, which cannot be more than 100% of the single premium rate. This benefit, referred to here as the “young adult option,” is separate and distinct from the “make-available” requirement. It is called the young adult option benefit because it permits eligible young adults to continue their coverage through a parent’s health insurance coverage once they reach the maximum age of dependency under the policy. Young adults may also elect this coverage when they newly meet the eligibility criteria, such as if they lose eligibility for group health insurance coverage.

“Age 29”  Frequently asked questions

DOL Releases ARRA COBRA Model Notices

 

The DOL has released the new model notices today. We will be reviewing all new notices and sharing with you via email under which circumstances to use these new notices.  COBRA NOTICES 

 

DOL creates website on COBRA coverage under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

All employers and employees now have a site that answers questions about the COBRA coverage under ARRA. Individuals who request treatment as an assistance eligible individual and are denied such treatment by their group health plan may have the right to appeal to the DOL. The DOL is currently developing a process and an official application form that will be required to be completed for appeals. According to the website, The DOL is actively working to issue additional guidance regarding the COBRA premium reductions.  I expect to see the DOL’s final notices regarding changes under ARRA next week.  Important IRS forms are also available in spanish and english at this site.  Stay tuned for more information.

Go to DOL COBRA ARRA site

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