News Alert: Senators propose COBRA subsidy for inclusion in HEALS Act
Published on July 31st, 2020
Senators Martha McSally (R-Arizona), Steve Daines (R-Montana), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) have introduced a bill that would allow employees laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19 to stay on their employer-sponsored health plan at the rate of their current premium.
The full bill proposes that the federal government reimburse employers up to 85% the cost of the health plan, retroactive to March 1, 2020, and ending December 31, 2020. Individuals would be required to provide notice amendments explaining why a subsidy is required (or retroactive re-notices for those already offered COBRA beginning March 1, 2020). The bill also would allow employees to elect a different health plan, as long as it doesn’t cost more than the original plan.
Currently, those who lose health coverage due to a layoff or furlough can elect COBRA, which allows them to keep their employer-sponsored healthcare and pay the full premium amount plus 2% to their employer.
The proposed bill, which the senators aim to include in the Health Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act currently being crafted in the Senate, applies to those laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19, as well as church plans. The HEALS Act is the Republican-controlled Senate’s response to the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act introduced by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in May. Both proposed acts aim to provide financial relief (among other forms of relief) in the wake of COVID-19.
Check back here for updates on the proposed bill.