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March 15, 2010
Senate OKs Cobra Subsidy Extension for Rest of 2010

The U.S. Senate has voted 62-36 to approve legislation that would allow workers who are involuntarily terminated during the remainder of 2010 to be eligible for COBRA subsidies.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) created the COBRA subsidy program. The program was originally supposed to end December 31, 2009, meaning workers who were involuntarily terminated after that date wouldn’t qualify for the subsidies. However, Congress has approved two extensions, at first to February 28, 2010, and then to March 31, 2010.

Last week, the Senate approved HR 4213, which would extend the program even longer, to December 31, 2010. The COBRA subsidy extension is part of a broader tax bill. The House and Senate must still iron out differences between their versions of the tax vbills before the legislation would go to Present Obama’s desk.

Under current law, workers who are or were involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008 and March 31, 2010 are eligible for 65 percent COBRA subsidies. Workers can receive the subsidies for up to 15 months.

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