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S. 263: Worker Health Coverage Protection Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 4, 2021.

Worker Health Coverage Protection Act

This bill provides health insurance premium assistance to individuals who become unemployed or are furloughed during the period beginning on March 1, 2020, and ending on September 30, 2021. Specifically, the bill treats premiums as paid for individuals who (1) are terminated from employment and elect to continue insurance coverage through the COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) program during such period, or (2) receive more than a 30% reduction in work hours during such period but remain eligible for coverage under a group health plan. The bill also specifies requirements for individuals changing, or enrolling in, health plans under the program. Additionally, the bill requires employers to provide eligible individuals specified written notice about this health insurance premium assistance, including, among other information, available health plan enrollment options and the date that such assistance expires.

The Department of the Treasury must reimburse employers, group health plans, and insurance issuers through a payroll tax credit or refund for unpaid premiums that were treated as paid under the program.

Premium assistance is not considered income for federal income tax purposes or for determining eligibility for federal or state benefits or assistance.