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News Statement

Release Date: December 21, 2009
Contact Name: Gloria Della or Joseph De Wolk
Phone Number: 202.725.8422/202.579.4681

Statement of Phyllis C. Borzi on COBRA subsidy extension

Washington, DC – Phyllis C. Borzi, Assistant Secretary of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) today released the following statement regarding the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and the recent extension of the premium reduction under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA):

"I am pleased Congress has acted and the President has signed the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations Act. The act extends the eligibility period for the COBRA premium reduction for an additional two months (through Feb. 28, 2010) and the maximum period for receiving the subsidy for an additional six months (from nine to 15 months). Millions of unemployed Americans and their families will be better able to afford and keep their health benefit coverage because of this new law.

"Individuals who had reached the end of the reduced premium period before the legislation extended it to 15 months will have additional time to pay the reduced premiums related to the extension. To continue their coverage they must pay the 35% of premium costs by (60 days after date of enactment) or, if later, 30 days after notice of the extension is provided by their plan administrator.

"We encourage you to subscribe to our COBRA Web site, www.dol.gov/cobra, to get information on new notice requirements, updated guidance, fact sheets, and frequently asked questions as they become available.

"Individuals should contact their plan or health insurance provider for information regarding the extension under their health plan. If you need further assistance contact an EBSA Benefits Advisor toll-free at 1-866-444-3272."

U.S. Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the Department's Newsroom page. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202.693.7828 or TTY 202.693.7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit the Department's Compliance Assistance page.