As you may know, on February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law H.R.1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). On December 19, 2009, the president signed the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010. These laws provider premium assistance and other enhanced continuation of coverage rights for employees who were, or will be, involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008 and May 31, 2010 (previously February 28, 2010; March 31, 2010).
Vermont lawmakers recently enhanced Vermont’s continuation law to maximize the subsidies available under ARRA and to bring it closer in line to COBRA, among other things. Under previous law, individuals who received continuation coverage through Vermont employers with fewer than 20 total employees were eligible for only six months of continuation coverage. These individuals could therefore only take advantage of the federal premium subsidy for up to six months after termination.
Vermont lawmakers recently extended Vermont-mandated continuation coverage to 18 months, making former employees of organizations employing fewer than 20 total people eligible for the subsidy for up to fifteen months (previously nine months) allowed by federal law. The law also allows former employees who opted not to seek continuation coverage initially a second chance to do so.
You, the employer, have a role in informing your former employees of their rights. What you must do varies depending on how many employees you have:
Employers of 20 or more employees must notify terminated employees of their rights under ARRA and provide them with election forms (find the forms here).
Employers of fewer than 20 employees must give their carriers the names of employees who were, or will be terminated, so that the carriers may notify them of their rights. Please register and use our web form to give us the names of applicable employees.