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Premium Reduction Program Expanded and Extended

On December 21, 2009, President Obama signed legislation extending and expanding the COBRA Premium Reduction Program. The premium reduction benefit now lasts 15 months and is available to persons who are involuntarily terminated through February 28, 2010. If your premium reduction benefit expired on December 1, you have until February 19 to pay the 35% of your premium to re-enroll in coverage with no lapse. The expansion and extension also applies to Rhode Islanders received the benefit using Rhode Island's Exended Medical Benefits program.

COBRA Premium Reduction Program

Basic Information

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) signed by President Obama in February provides assistance to the unemployed who are at risk of losing health insurance. The ARRA will cover 65% of the premiums payable by workers who lost their jobs and their families for health care continuation coverage under COBRA. This premium reduction will last for up to 9 months. Workers who lost their job between September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009 and their families are eligible. This premium reduction also applies to health care continuation coverage for small employers in Rhode Island as well as public employees. A great resource for information is available at the Department of Labor's website.

Information for Employers

Are you an employer that laid-off or released any employees after September 1, 2008? If so, then you may have requirement to follow based on this new law. The federal department of labor has detailed information on its website. All employers will need to change they way they inform any workers who are involuntarily terminated about their COBRA benefits.

Information for Employees

Answer the following questions to find out of you qualify and find out how to take advantage of the COBRA Premium Reduction Program

When did you lose your job that provided health benefits? (Click on your answer)
Before September 1, 2008
Between September 1, 2008 and February 17, 2009
On or After February 17, 2009