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Q. My son was laid off from his job in April 2009. Does he still benefit from the new extension for COBRA subsidies? S.V., Houston

A. Yes. A new defense appropriations law—the Defense Appropriations Act of 2010—expands the maximum coverage under the COBRA subsidy program by six months from nine months to a total of 15 months. Therefore, assuming your son otherwise qualifies, he can continue to pay the reduced 35% premium for 15 months. The ex-employer must pay the 65% subsidy, but it can recover the costs from the government via payroll tax credits.

Tip:
The new law also extends coverage to workers “involuntarily terminated” in either of the first two months this year.

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