What You Need to Know
- The COBRA subsidy would last only through September.
- Another subsidy, for unemployed people, would last throughout 2021.
- The emergency measures could influence future health system change efforts.
The Senate has increased the generosity of a health insurance subsidy provision in H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The “Preserving Health Benefits for Workers” provision would help insured workers who lose their jobs keep their employer-sponsored group health benefits in place, through a new, temporary subsidy of the COBRA health benefits continuation program.
The House passed one version of H.R. 1319 by a 219-212 vote Saturday. In that version, the worker health benefits provision would have the federal government pay 85% of workers’ COBRA group health coverage continuation premiums, from the month after the provision became law until Sept. 30, 2021.
The Senate version would use tax credit subsidies to help pay all of the premiums for COBRA continuation benefits from the month after the provision became law through Sept. 30.
The provision is in Title IX, Subtitle F.
Here are some other health and welfare coverage provisions that appear in both the House version and the new Senate version: