Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Report: $2 billion in COBRA subsidy benefits paid in 2009

Washington spent just over $2 billion dollars in 2009 to offer subsidized COBRA coverage to an estimated two million households in the U.S., according to figures released recently by the Treasury Department. The 2009 stimulus law required the Treasury Department to provide Congress with an interim report detailing utilization and expenditures associated with the subsidy.

The report, which for the most part uses data collected from Form 941, emphasizes that because many health benefit plans cover spouses and dependents, subsidized coverage for two million households translates into coverage for substantially more than two million individuals.

Over 300,000 claims for subsidy refunds were filed by employer tax reporting units through early 2010, totaling just over $2 billion dollars in credits for premium assistance. In addition, the Labor Department has received over 20,000 requests for expedited review of employer decisions regarding the subsidy. Over 13,000 of these reviews resulted in the employer’s determination being overturned.


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