Obama Endorses COBRA Subsidy Extension

By Staff Report

Dec. 9, 2009

President Barack Obama endorsed an extension of the current COBRA subsidy program during a speech dealing with job creation and economic growth Tuesday, December 8.

During an address delivered at Washington’s Brookings Institution, the president said the COBRA subsidy for laid-off workers was one of several relief efforts that should be extended.

Such an extension “will help folks weathering these storms while boosting consumer spending and promoting jobs,” the president said.

Under the subsidy, embedded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the federal government pays 65 percent of COBRA premiums for COBRA-eligible employees who are involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009.

The subsidy is available for nine months or until an enrollee is eligible for new group health insurance coverage. Legislation to extend the subsidy has been introduced in both houses of Congress, with the House bill maintaining the subsidy at 65 percent while the Senate measure calls for increasing it to 75 percent.

The president did not endorse a specific bill in his speech.

Filed by Mark A. Hofmann of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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