Legislative Alert: Stimulus Package/COBRA UPDATE
The American Resources and Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed into law by President Obama February 17th. Under the Act, certain individuals who are eligible for COBRA continuation health coverage, or similar coverage under State law, may receive a subsidy for 65 percent of the premiums for themselves and their families for up to nine months.
Click on the link below for detailed information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which went into effect February 17, 2009
These individuals are required to pay only 35 percent of the premium.
The employer may recover the subsidy provided to assistance-eligible individuals by taking the subsidy amount as a credit on its quarterly employment tax return. The employer may provide the subsidy – and take the credit on its employment tax return – only after it has received the 35 percent premium payment from the individual.
To qualify, a worker must have been involuntarily separated between Sept. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009. Workers who lost their jobs between Sept. 1, 2008, and enactment, but failed to initially elect COBRA because it was unaffordable, get an additional 60 days to elect COBRA and receive the subsidy.
This subsidy phases out for individuals whose modified adjusted gross income exceeds $125,000, or $250,000 for those filing joint returns. Taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income exceeding $145,000, or $290,000 for those filing joint returns, do not qualify for the subsidy.
On February 26, the Internal Revenue Service released its first round of information for employers to use in administering the new subsidy program. Included are the subsidy reporting form, instructions and a very detailed questions-and-answers piece. The Department of Labor is still working on model notices and other guidance for release by March 17.