As of Sept. 1, Americans who were laid off between September 2008 and May 2010 are no longer eligible for the COBRA subsidy, which was passed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The COBRA subsidy covered 65 percent of COBRA premiums for 15 months of the program's 18-month eligibility, meaning unemployed participants are now responsbile for all costs during the last three months.

But some employers were surprised to learn the subsidy was coming to an end so soon. Given all of the political posturing and the poor economic environment, those employers could have been under the impression that the subsidy was available for the full 18 months.

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