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Posted March 4, 2021

cobra subsidy update


The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill (the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021) on Saturday. The bill includes a prospective 85 percent COBRA subsidy through September of this year. We have seen the near-final Senate version of the bill, which still includes the COBRA subsidy.

Senate Democrats aim to have a bill to the President’s desk on or before March 14. The Senate could pass the bill as early as this weekend. While there is no guarantee, the inclusion of the subsidy to this point makes its enactment more likely than not.

We continue to work through the platform and operational considerations that the current version of the bill introduces. At the same time, we are communicating with Senate Finance and HELP Committee staffers to suggest technical revisions to the bill to make it workable for our industry and ecosystem. 

We applaud the members of Congress for recognizing displaced workers’ needs for assistance in maintaining their health insurance during the pandemic. We also want to make sure that those individuals and their families can readily receive that assistance.

Stay tuned for further developments as they happen.


Chris Byrd

Chris Byrd

Chris Byrd brings more than 25 years of experience in employee benefits and banking to his role at WEX Health. A founder of Evolution Benefits in 2000, Chris played a key role in designing the proprietary architecture for the company’s prepaid benefits card.

Chris oversees the daily execution of WEX Health’s business and leads the company’s operations and service delivery, corporate development, merger and acquisition activity, and legal, industry, and government relations efforts.

He began his career in commercial banking, and prior to 2000, he focused on finance, strategy, and business development for Value Health and two start-up healthcare companies. He joined WEX Health in July 2014.

Chris, who serves on numerous industry boards, is a frequent speaker on emerging trends in financial services and benefits and is active in industry and government relations. He earned a degree in economics from Brown University.  

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