The vast majority of HR professionals believe that more employees will elect COBRA coverage as the result of the new COBRA subsidy included in the recently enacted economic stimulus package.
When asked “Will more laid-off workers elect COBRA coverage because of the new COBRA subsidy?,” nearly half (49 percent) responded “Yes, significantly more” while an additional 38 percent responded “Yes, slightly more.” Only 12 percent of respondents replied “No.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides for a 65 percent subsidy for COBRA continuation premiums for up to 9 months for workers who have been involuntarily terminated, and for their families. The subsidy terminates when the covered individual is offered any new employer-sponsored healthcare coverage or becomes eligible for Medicare.
To qualify for the subsidy, individuals must meet all of the following requirements:
- Is eligible for COBRA continuation coverage at any time during the period beginning September 1, 2008 and ending December 31, 2009;
- Elects COBRA coverage (when first offered or during the additional election period), and
- Has a qualifying event for COBRA coverage that is the employee's involuntary termination during the period beginning September 1, 2008 and ending December 31, 2009.
The Department of Labor recently released guidance regarding the subsidy. Read our coverage.
The Compensation.BLR.com and HR.BLR.com poll included over 450 responses.