Late Tuesday night, the Senate approved and the President signed a bill that , among other things, extends the COBRA subsidy (that had expired on February 28, 2010) to March 31, 2010 and applies that extension retroactively.  That means that any terminations on Monday and Tuesday this week that would have been subject to the COBRA subsidy (but for the expiration of the prior law) may need to be revisited.

The bill (H.R. 4691) also extends unemployment benefit eligibility as well. 

Besides extending the time for eligibility for the COBRA subsidy, the bill also has a number of other provisions attempting to clarify portions of the prior law.

What does this mean for employers? 

  • Check back on the Department of Labor’s COBRA page today and tomorrow for additional information from the agency.  The agency will no doubt release some additional information on how employers should handle this.
  • If employers have had any terminations that would otherwise qualify for the COBRA subsidy the last two days, those terminations need to be reviewed and notices may need to be sent telling those individuals that they may be eligible for the COBRA subsidy.

This is still a fluid situation so employers with any COBRA-related questions should check with their counsel to get the latest advice on how to handle them.