House Approves One-month Extension of COBRA Subsidy

February 26, 2010 ( - The House of Representatives has approved legislation to extend federal subsidies of COBRA health care premiums through the end of March.

Under current law, employees involuntarily terminated through February 28 are eligible for the subsidy, but H.R. 4681, would extend the 65%, 15-month federal premium subsidy to employees involuntarily terminated through March 31, Business Insurance reports. The measure would allow employees who first lost group coverage due to a reduction in hours and then were terminated to receive the COBRA premium subsidy, so long as certain conditions were met.

According to Business Insurance, the Senate is considering similar legislation, H.R. 1586, that would extend the subsidy through March 28, but it is possible the Senate instead will take up the House COBRA measure, which also includes provisions to extend temporarily other expiring laws.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has drafted a bill that would extend the COBRA premium subsidy to employees involuntarily terminated through the end of the year (see Reid Puts Together New Bill for COBRA Subsidy Extension, Pension Relief).

According to the news report, the Senate is expected to consider the bill next week.