The House of Representatives has approved legislation to once again temporarily extend eligibility for a federal COBRA health insurance premium subsidy program.

H.R. 4851, proposed by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin, D-Mich., and approved by the House on March 17, would extend eligibility beyond March 31 to employees involuntarily terminated between April 1 and April 30.

Individuals eligible for the subsidy program pay only 35 percent of their COBRA premiums; the remaining 65 percent is reimbursed to the coverage provider through a tax credit. The premium reduction applies to periods of health coverage that began on or after February 17, 2009 and lasts for up to 15 months.

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