My wife passed away in January of 2009 and I am applying for COBRA coverage. Does the ARRA program include those families of the deceased as well as those that lose their jobs?
According to a report issued by the Committee on Education and Labor, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides for a 65% reduction in the premiums payable by involuntarily terminated workers and their families for health care continuation coverage under COBRA. This premium reduction is available for up to 9 months.
To be eligible for the premium reduction, you must be a COBRA qualified beneficiary who meets all of the following requirements:
• Is eligible for COBRA continuation coverage as a result of Federal or State law at any time during the period beginning September 1, 2008 and ending December 31, 2009;
• Elects COBRA coverage (when first offered or during the additional election period); and
• Was involuntarily terminated during the period beginning September 1, 2008 and ending December 31, 2009.
Unfortunately, death is not considered to be an involuntary termination of employment. So, the family members of the deceased worker would be required to pay the full premium amount if they elected COBRA.
In most situations, COBRA coverage is available for 18 months but it is important to note that COBRA coverage can last as long as 36 months for the deceased worker's dependents.
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