Last week, Congress again extended the reach of the COBRA subsidy. As reported here before, the subsidy was part of the legislation designed to jump start the economy and ease the pain of the unemployed. Instead of paying the full freight of health insurance (plus a two percent administrative fee), the newly unemployed person could pay only 35% of the health insurance premium. The employer paid the rest, and could take an offset from the withholding tax owed to the federal government. In other words, the government pays for the majority of the premium.
This program has been extended not only to last for fifteen months, from the earlier nine, but also applies to those laid off in April or May of 2010. The subsidy is available for people who lose their jobs, not those who quit.