Congress continues to health care reform while the emergency COBRA subsidy is set to expire.
To help out the wave of workers laid-off, downsized and outsourced, Congress included a health insurance subsidy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The government would pay 65 percent of the COBRA premium for eligible workers who lost their jobs between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009.
If you lost your job between September 1, 2008 and March 1, 2009, the subsidy is set to expire. The law provided for nine months of the subsidy. If you lost your job after March 1, 2009, the subsidy is in place for nine months after you lost your job.
When this benefit expires, the employee will not lose the COBRA coverage. But the subsidy will expire and the employee will be bear the full cost of the insurance coverage.
There have been a few bills in Congress to extend the subsidy (Extended COBRA Continuation Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 3930) and COBRA Subsidy Extension and Enhancement Act (S. 2730)) but they do not seem to be moving forward.
That means that employers will need to go back their old COBRA notice in January 2010. For those of you who had the benefit of the COBRA subsidy, the amount you pay for health insurance will go up.