December 18th, 2009 – The US House of Representatives passed bills that included an extension of COBRA health insurance subsidies for Americans who have lost their jobs.
Next up is the Senate, who is expected to act quickly before the COBRA premium subsidy program expires at the end of the year.
The COBRA premium subsidy program was created under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act program to reduce 65% of an unemployed person’s COBRA premiums. The 65% subsidy lasts for nine months per individual, but the subsidy program is set to end Dec. 31.
The new bill that passed the House extends that nine-month period to 15 months. Those who have already run past their nine months and have lost their insurance could get it back for the remainder of the 15-month period. However, the language in the final bill may vary.
The eligibility period for the COBRA subsidy program has been extended to May 31, 2010. Individuals who are involuntarily terminated from employment through May 31, 2010, are eligible for the subsidy available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).