The truth about COBRA subsidies

The eligibility rules for COBRA subsidy say “an employee who is terminated involuntarily (unless for gross misconduct)” is eligible. A client called to inform me that their company had two people who walked off the job who haven’t come back for days. Basically, “take this job and….” My client asked me if the company would have to offer COBRA and if these employees would receive the subsidy. When I called the Department of Labor office today to clarify what they meant by “gross misconduct” and “involuntary,” I was told that an employee would have to commit a felony to be considered gross misconduct and that an employee walking off the job and not coming back for days is not involuntary termination since the employer would have to make the decision to “take him off the books” for this behavior. So our tax payer dollars are going to subsidize COBRA premiums for pretty much everyone, not just those who were laid off due to the economy, as we were told.

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