Employers must act soon to comply with changes to COBRA continuation coverage requirements. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Act), signed by President Obama on February 17, provides COBRA subsidies and special election rights to individuals who lose group health plan coverage due to an involuntary termination of employment between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009. The subsidies and special election rights are available effective March 1, 2009, but employers must notify affected individuals of these changes by April 13, 2009. In effect, the Act requires employers to act as the administrators and short-term funders of a government-mandated health program.
is an employee or dependent who loses coverage under a group health plan during the period beginning September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009 as a result of the employee's involuntary termination of employment (other than for gross misconduct); and
elects COBRA continuation coverage either during the original COBRA election period or during the special election period (described below).