American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
COBRA Extended Health Insurance Coverage
The act creates an immediate short-term subsidy ("premium assistance") for COBRA coverage for individuals who were involuntarily terminated from employment between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009. However, premium assistance is only available to individuals with annual incomes below $125,000 (single) or $250,000 (couples). The subsidy is equal to 65 percent of the required premium and lasts a maximum of nine months. A special election period is created to allow individuals who are eligible for the subsidy to elect COBRA coverage even if they have previously not done so. The subsidy is also available for health care continuation coverage if required by the states for employees not otherwise covered by COBRA (e.g., employees of small employers).