New guidance has been issued by the Department of Labor to end the confusion surrounding COBRA subsidy eligibility.
While the feds are offering up a 65% nine-month COBRA premium subsidy to workers involuntarily terminated in the period between Sept. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009, some who lost their jobs during that time won’t be eligible.
What would keep a terminated employee from being eligible for COBRA? Being covered by their former employer’s health plan through Dec. 31, 2009.
As a result, the worker wouldn’t be eligible for COBRA until Jan 1, 2010 — just missing the cutoff for the subsidy.
On the other hand, if the person was terminated by Dec. 31 and was eligible for COBRA, he or she could receive the subsidy for a full nine months — even if that nine-month period extends well into 2010.
Two bills have been introduced to extend and even expand the COBRA subsidy, but the fate of the legislation remains unclear.