Senate Fails to Extend COBRA Subsidy Before Break

By Staff Report

Mar. 26, 2010

The Senate adjourned Friday, March 26, for a two-week recess without taking action on a House-approved bill that would temporarily extend federal COBRA health insurance premium subsidies.

Action stalled on H.R. 4851, which also would temporarily extend certain other expiring federal programs, after Republicans and Democrats clashed on how the extensions would be funded.

Without the extension, employees who are involuntarily terminated after March 31 will not be eligible for the 65 percent, 15-month premium subsidy. The House-approved bill, introduced by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin, D-Michigan, would extend the subsidy eligibility through April 30.

However, the Senate is expected to take up the measure soon after legislators return April 12. If the bill is approved, the premium subsidies would be retroactive to April 1.

The Senate earlier approved legislation, H.R. 4213, to extend the subsidy to employees laid off through the end of 2010, but the House has not acted on that measure. 

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


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