On April 15, 2010, President Obama signed into law HR 4851, the Continuing Extension Act of 2010 (“Act”), which temporarily extends certain unemployment and health care benefits.
The Act extends the federally-funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation (“EUC”) program, which provides unemployment benefits to individuals who have exhausted state unemployment benefits. Under the Act, the deadline for filing applications for EUC benefits was extended from April 5, 2010 to June 2, 2010. The benefits may be paid through November 6, 2010.
The Act also amends the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to extend federal subsidies for COBRA health insurance continuation coverage. The subsidies, which cover 65 percent of the cost of COBRA, are now available to individuals who experience a qualifying event related to termination of employment between April 1, 2010 and May 31, 2010. Prior to this amendment, the subsidies were available only to individuals who had experienced a qualifying event before April 1. The Act requires administrators of group health plans to issue revised COBRA election notices reflecting the extended subsidy to individuals terminated between April 1 and April 15, 2010.
In addition, the Act extends the national flood insurance program and the small business loan guarantee program through May 31, 2010; extends the use of 2009 poverty guidelines through May 31, 2010; and amends the Social Security Act to postpone until June 1, 2010, a scheduled 21 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements to physicians.