Workplace Culture

House Extends Health Insurance Subsidies for Some Laid-Off Workers

By Staff Report

Dec. 17, 2010

While there is broad support in Congress for the subsidy, it isn’t known if the Senate will act on the proposal before the session ends.


The House on Dec. 15 approved legislation that would give an 18-month extension to a federal law that provides rich health insurance premium subsidies to workers who lose their jobs due to foreign competition and older participants in failed pension plans.


Under H.R. 6517, introduced by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Sander Levin, D-Michigan, eligible beneficiaries would continue to receive through June 30, 2012, an 80 percent tax credit to partially offset the cost of health insurance coverage they purchase, such as COBRA continuation coverage.


A 2002 law created the subsidy—known as the Health Coverage Tax Credit—and set the tax credit at 65 percent. The 2009 stimulus law raised the tax credit to 80 percent.


While there is broad support in Congress for the subsidy, it isn’t known if the Senate will act on the proposal before the session ends, said Frank McArdle, a principal with Aon Hewitt Inc. in Washington.


Filed by Jerry Geisel of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.


 


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