H.R. 1 Contains COBRA Provisions

February 13, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Looks like that huge stimulus package has some COBRA provisions in it, after all.

The U.S. House of Representatives, on a largely party line 246-183 vote, approved legislation that includes a provision that would provide a 65% federal COBRA premium subsidy for nine months for employees who are laid off between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009.   According to Business Insurance, the legislation would, among other things, require employers to locate employees laid off since September 1, 2008, who declined COBRA to tell them they have a new right to opt for the coverage – with the government picking up 65% of the premium.

Individuals would have 60 days after receiving the notification to sign up for the coverage, according to the report. The subsidy would apply to COBRA premiums starting March 1. The subsidy, though, would not be available to individuals with annual adjusted gross incomes exceeding $125,000 or couples with incomes over $250,000.

The Senate approved the legislation, H.R. 1, Friday evening by a vote of 60-38, with the support of the same three GOP Senators who also backed the earlier stimulus proposal (see  SURVEY SAYS: How Are You Feeling About the Stimulus? ).  President Obama is certainly expected to sign the package next week.