Volume CIX, No. 4April, 2009


In accordance with a law enacted on February 17, 2009, the Federal government now provides a 65% COBRA premium subsidy for eligible employees who are involuntarily terminated from employment between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009 (and their family members who are COBRA qualified beneficiaries). Eligible individuals are only required to pay 35% of the required COBRA premium during the applicable subsidy period. The subsidy applies to coverage periods beginning as of March 1, 2009, and it is available to eligible individuals for a period of up to 9 months (or shorter, if the person’s COBRA coverage period expires). The subsidy is not available if the individual is eligible (or becomes eligible) for Medicare or other group health coverage (excluding certain types of limited coverage), even if he or she does not actually enroll in such other coverage. In addition, all or a portion of the subsidy must be repaid if the individual reaches certain income thresholds in the year in which the subsidy is provided. 

The above is intended to be a very brief, general summary to alert you to this government subsidy. While the Fund recognizes that your eligibility for this subsidy may impact your decision to elect COBRA continuation coverage, please be aware that there are many detailed rules and unanswered questions at this point in time concerning how eligibility is determined under a multiemployer benefit plan like ours. Accordingly, depending on your circumstances, it may not be possible for a determination to be made at this time as to whether you or your dependents will be eligible for the subsidy. The Fund will be providing additional information once further guidance is issued by the government, which is expected in the next few weeks. (We note that eligible individuals who already had an opportunity to elect COBRA coverage and did not elect it (or elected it and let coverage lapse) may be eligible for a second special election period in accordance with the new law.) 

Please contact the Local 802 Musicians Health Fund 212-245-4802 should you have any questions.