President Barack Obama on Oct. 21 will sign trade legislation that also will boost federal health insurance premium subsidies for employees who lose their jobs because of foreign competition and older retirees in failed pension plans, the White House announced Oct. 18.
The legislation, which won final Congressional approval last week, would boost, retroactive to March 1, the tax credit to 72.5%. The tax credit would expire at the end of 2013.
Federal lawmakers originally set the subsidy, as part of a 2002 law, as a 65 percent federal tax credit. In 2009, an economic stimulus law raised the credit to 80 percent through Dec. 31, 2010. Last year, Congress approved a temporary extension through Feb. 13. The subsidy reverted to 65 percent after lawmakers in February could not agree on another extension.
Aside from those who lose their jobs due to foreign competition, the subsidy also would be available to those at least age 55 whose pension plans have been taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.