Individuals who have lost their jobs due to foreign competition, as well as retirees in failed pension plans, again would be eligible for federal health insurance premium subsidies under legislation introduced last week in the House of Representatives.
The subsidy, known as the Health Coverage Tax Credit, expired at the end of last year. It had paid 72.5% of health care premiums for eligible beneficiaries — people who have lost their jobs due to foreign competition and retirees at least age 55 whose pension plans have been taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
The Trade Adjustment Assistance Act of 2014 — H.R. 4163 — introduced by Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., with more than 40 co-sponsors, would restore that subsidy retroactive to Jan. 1, 2014, and boost the subsidy to 80%.
In the case of individuals who also are eligible for health care reform law premium subsidies, they would have a choice between using those subsidies to purchase coverage or the HCTC. Typically, the HCTC premium subsidy had been used by affected individuals to purchase COBRA coverage from their former employers.