Will Congress bite on COBRA subsidy extension?

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in Employee Benefits Program,HR Management,Human Resources

With federal COBRA subsidies for laid-off workers set to expire Dec. 31, Congress is getting ready to consider an extension—and HR pros are getting ready for administrative headaches.

In February, Congress passed the massive $789 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), designed to stimulate the economy. Included in the bill was federal funding for eligible laid-off workers to receive a 65% subsidy toward continuation health insurance purchased under terms of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

The subsidy—for up to nine months of coverage—was available to workers laid off between Sept. 1, 2008, and the end of this year.

President Obama has called for extending the subsidy, and Congress seems inclined to go along. Two bills in the House (H.R. 3930 and H.R. 3966) and one in the Senate (S. 2730) would extend COBRA subsidies for those who currently receive them, and would...(register to read more)

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