President Obama signed HR 3326, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which includes a law that lengthens the duration of the COBRA subsidy from nine months to 15 months for eligible employees and their dependents. It also extends the subsidy to those Americans who lose their jobs on or before Feb. 28, 2010.

The COBRA subsidy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) requires eligible employees to pay 35% of the COBRA premium, or about $3,000 a year for the average worker. Under the original COBRA law, most involuntarily terminated workers were required to pay 100% of the health care premium plus an additional 2% to cover administrative costs.

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