Under the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), certain group health plan participants who lose their coverage are permitted to continue coverage for a period of time by electing continued coverage and paying the relevant premium themselves. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, as amended, provided a subsidy to certain eligible individuals that allowed them a discount of up to 65% of their COBRA premiums for up to 15 months.
The eligibility period for the COBRA subsidy has expired and been extended several times. Most recently, the eligibility period would have expired on March 31. However, President Obama signed the Continuing Extension Act of 2010, which extends the COBRA subsidy eligibility period until May 31. As such, participants who experience a qualifying event on or before such date may be eligible for the subsidy.
Various aspects of the COBRA subsidy have been changed since its original enactment. For more information about the original subsidy, click here, and for information about several important changes to the original subsidy, click here.
The text of the Continuing Extension Act of 2010 can be found here.