Continuation Coverage Assistance Under
The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act
President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on February 17, 2009. The law gives "Assistance Eligible Individuals" the right to pay reduced COBRA premiums for periods of coverage beginning on or after February 17, 2009 and can last up to nine months.
To be considered as "Assistance Eligible individual" and get reduced premiums you:
- MUST be eligible for continuation coverage at any time during the period from September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009 and elect coverage;
- MUST have a continuation coverage election opportunity related to an involuntary termination of employment that occurred at some time from September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009;
- MUST NOT be eligible for Medicare; AND
- MUST NOT be eligible for coverage under any other group health plan, such as a plan sponsored by a successor employer or a spouse's employer.
Individuals who experienced a qualifying event as the result of an involuntary termination of employment at any time from September 1, 2008 through February 16, 2009 and were offered, but did not elect, continuation coverage OR who elected continuation coverage and subsequently discontinued it may have the right to an additional 60-day election period.
- If, after you elect COBRA and while you are paying the reduced premium, you become eligible for other group health plan coverage or Medicare you MUST notify the plan in writing. If you do not, you may be subject to a tax penalty.
- Electing the premium reduction disqualifies you for the Health Coverage Tax Credit. If you are eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit, which could be more valuable that the premium reduction, you will have received a notification from the IRS.
- The amount of the premium reduction is recaptured for certain high income individuals. If the amount you earn for the year is more than $125,000 (or $250,000 for married couples filing joint federal income tax return) all or part of the premium reduction may be recaptured by an increase in your income tax liability for the year. If you think that your income may exceed the amounts above, you may wish to consider waiving your right to the premium reduction. For more information, consult your tax preparer or visit the IRS Web page on ARRA at www.irs.gov.
For general information regarding your plan's COBRA coverage, the administration of the ARRA Premium Reduction, or to notify the Plan of your ineligibility to continue paying reduced premiums, you may contact:
Clayton County Board of Commissioners
Insurance Benefits Division of Human Resources
134 Spring Street
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236
If you are denied treatment as an "Assistance Eligible individual' you may have the right to have the denial reviewed. For more information regarding reviews or for general information about the ARRA Premium Reduction go to:
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/cobra.html or call 1 (866) 444-EBSA (3272)
For More Information
Interim Director: Detrick Stanford
120 Smith Street
Jonesboro, GA 30236
Phone: (770) 477-3239
Job Line: (770) 473-5800