Average monthly enrollment rates in COBRA health care plans among subsidy-eligible employees have increased by 20% since COBRA financial assistance began in March 2009, a new analysis from Hewitt Associates Inc. finds.
COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986, requires employers offering health care benefits to allow most involuntarily terminated employees to continue their group health coverage, if they are willing to pay for it. COBRA applies to employers of at least 20 workers that offer health care benefits.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Federal government has been subsidizing COBRA coverage for many workers who were involuntarily terminated on or after Sept. 1, 2008 through Dec, 31, 2009.
President Barack Obama recently signed the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which lengthened the duration of the COBRA subsidy from 9 months to 15 months for eligible employees and their dependents and extends the subsidy to those who lose their jobs on or before Feb. 28, 2010.