COBRA Subsidy Increase Proposed in Senate

November 13, 2009 ( – U.S. Senators have introduced a proposal that would increase the subsidy for COBRA insurance premiums for employees who are involuntarily terminated and extend coverage.

Under bill, S. 2730, proposed by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania), the nine-month subsidy would be extended to 15 months, and the 65% federal premium subsidy would be raised to 75%, Business Insurance reports. In addition, eligibility for the premium subsidy would be extended to workers who lose their jobs through June 30, 2010.

Under current law, employees who lose their jobs after December 31 will not be eligible for the subsidy, and employees laid off before December 31, but whose COBRA eligibility doesn’t begin until next year also would not be eligible for the subsidy.

A similar bill was introduced in the U.S. House last month, but it did not provide for an increase in the subsidy amount (see Bill Would Extend COBRA’s Hand ).