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Senate amendment would extend COBRA subsidy


WASHINGTON—Employees laid off from June 1 through Nov. 30 would be eligible for COBRA premium subsidies under a tax bill amendment that Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., proposed Wednesday.

“Millions of Americans have been hard hit by the recession and lost their jobs through no fault of their own. If Congress turns its back on them, they will have an even more difficult time making ends meet,” Sen. Casey said at a news briefing.

Sen. Casey's amendment to H.R. 4213 would need approval by the Senate, which is considering amendments to the broader bill.

When the Senate first approved H.R. 4213 in March, the bill included a provision to extend the 15-month, 65% federal premium subsidy to employees laid off through year-end. But the House stripped the COBRA subsidy provision and its projected nearly $8 billion cost from the tax measure in May before passing the broader bill and sending the bill back to the Senate.

The revamped tax bill that Senate Democrats unveiled Tuesday, like the House-passed measure, omits an extension of federal COBRA premium subsidies for laid-off employees.

The last congressional extension of the subsidy expired May 31, which means employees involuntarily terminated starting June 1 have not been eligible to receive the subsidy.

For answers to your questions about the COBRA health care statute, visit our online FAQ:

COBRA frequently asked questions