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House Committee Approves COBRA Extension for Trade-Impacted Workers
On October 18, by a vote of 26 to 18, the House Education and Labor Committee approved legislation, H.R. 3796, that takes in a major expansion of COBRA continuation coverage for persons who are entitled for trade adjustment assistance (TAA) after losing their jobs due to competition from imported products.
Under this legislation, two categories of TAA-eligible workers – those who are at least 55 years old and those who have worked for at least ten years for their employer – would be qualified for COBRA continuation coverage under their former employer's plan until they are covered by either Medicare or other health insurance. Under current law, such individuals in general meet the criteria for 18 months of COBRA continuation coverage. Other provisions of this bill would require employers to provide 90 days notice to employees who are affected by plant closings or mass layoffs.