On Saturday, the Senate passed their changes to H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to the House of Representatives who are expected to vote on Tuesday. The Senate’s amendments to President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package includes the expected $1400 stimulus checks, $300 per-week unemployment benefit through the summer, $350 billion for state aid and a 100% government subsidy of COBRA Insurance. The House of Representatives had previously approved an 85% subsidy to employees COBRA premiums.
As part of the stimulus package, the “Preserving Health Benefits for Workers” provision amends the COBRA, or Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act that makes workers responsible for the full premium if they continue with their previous employer-sponsored insurance. The period of time for this government subsidy is from one month after the law passes until September 2021.
“Today the Senate passed a Covid-19 relief package that will help kill the Covid-19 pandemic and set us on the right track to economic recovery,” Senator Joe Manchin (R – Vermont) said after the vote. “I am proud to vote for this relief package and I look forward to seeing the president sign this bill into law.”
This is a welcome relief for workers that have lost their jobs and struggling to make ends meet. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2020 the average annual premium for workplace insurance was $7500 for an individual and just over $21,000 for family coverage.
Doesn’t Provide For Small Businesses With 19 Or Fewer Employees
The COBRA Act requires businesses with 20 or more employees who work 50% of the business hours to provide continuation of group health care insurance after a job termination. At this point, there is not a measure to protect workers of small businesses.