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April 20, 2010
Obama Signs New COBRA Subsidy Program Extension

President Barack Obama has signed legislation that extends the COBRA subsidy program until May 31, 2010.

Before the extension, involuntary terminations that occurred after March 31, 2010, didn't qualify for subsidies for COBRA continuation coverage.

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

The extension also includes a provision that allows workers who were involuntarily terminated after March 31 but before passage of the extension to qualify for the subsidies.

Given the latest extension, employers will have to update their COBRA notices. and will post revised notices once the Department of Labor updates its model notices.

The COBRA subsidy program was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The Senate has approved legislation that would extend the program through the end of 2010. However, the House has yet to give its approval.

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