Friday, May 21, 2010

COBRA Subsidy -- Will It Be Extended?

As you know if you've followed this blog, employees who are involuntarily terminated from their employment have been eligible for a 65% federal subsidy of COBRA premiums. COBRA allows workers to continue their health insurance for 18 months after they leave a job, although the norm under COBRA is that you pay the premium yourself. In light of high unemployment rates, Congress agreed to subsidize COBRA so that involuntarily unemployed people would only have to pay 35% of the COBRA premium. This has been extended through the end of May, but it will expire on June 1 if Congress does not extend it further.

According to Kaiser Health News, the expectation is that the COBRA subsidy will be extended through the end of the year. Obviously, that would be welcome relief to the involuntarily unemployed -- especially those with pre-existing conditions who can't find other insurance.

Congress also will consider extending unemployment benefits through the end of the year. The COBRA subsidy and unemployment benefits have been treated in tandem all year. I suspect that, if one is extended, the other will be, as well.

Stay tuned; I'll let you know when Congress acts on this. Jennifer


  1. Do you know when Congress will next vote on the extension? My husband was just laid off -- June 4 was officially his last day. I don't know how we are going to afford the $748 per month COBRA coverage since I am only working part-time. We both have pre-existing conditions. It's a scary place to be...

  2. Hopefully this week, but no guarantees. J

  3. Any chance of this still happening? My Cobra cost is $1800.

  4. It doesn't look good at all. Congress is still arguing over the jobs bill, but I don't think they're even talking about the COBRA subsidy any more -- they're not even committed to extending unemployment. If you want to discuss your options, you can email me at or call (860) 674-1370. I'll try to help you figure it out. J