The COBRA subsidy, originally outlined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and subsequently extended, covered involuntary terminations through February 28, 2010. Without another extension, employees involuntarily terminated beginning March 1 would not have been eligible to receive this COBRA premium assistance.
Congress had been attempting to push back the extension one more month, but that bill was blocked by Senator Jim Bunning. However, Bunning yielded last Tuesday and the extension has now been officially pushed back until March 31, 2010. This will allow qualified individuals who are involuntarily terminated before that date to reduce their health plan costs by 65% through the subsidy. A bill called the American Workers, State and Business Relief Act of 2010 includes a provision to extend the subsidy through year-end. We will continue to monitor this ever-changing situation, so please be sure to check back. In the meantime, for additional information, check the recently updated Fact Sheet posted by the United States Department of Labor.