As expected, Congress and the President have extended and expanded the COBRA premium subsidy.
Under the new subsidy extension provision:
- The end date of eligibility for the ARRA subsidy changes from December 31, 2009, to February 28, 2010.
- The ARRA premium subsidy expands to 15 months, increased from current nine months.
- Participants whose subsidy ran out and who didn’t pay the full premium will get a second chance to opt for coverage. For example, a participant whose nine months of subsidized coverage ran out November 30 and who didn’t pay the regular unsubsidized December premium could pay the 35 percent premium share in January and receive coverage for December.
- Involuntary terminations that occur on or before February 28, 2010, would be eligible for the subsidy, regardless of when the individual’s COBRA eligibility period begins. This addresses a Congressional oversight in the original bill pertaining to December 31, 2009, Qualifying Events.
Contact your COBRA Administrator with questions; they should be in touch with you with further details, and their response to these changes.