On August 6, President Bush signed the Trade Act of 2002 (H.R. 3009), which includes a provision for a tax credit for health insurance costs incurred by people who have been displaced from their jobs as a result of a trade-related circumstance.
The bill allows for a refundable tax credit equal to 65 percent of the amount paid for health insurance coverage for the worker and qualifying family members for eligible months that begin within the tax year. Secondary workers who are displaced because they provide services for industries adversely affected by international trade also qualify for the credit.
The health insurance tax credit can be used to pay for company- or state-sponsored health insurance plans as well as individual policies if the employee purchased the policy at least one month prior to discharge.
In addition, employees who are discharged because of shifts in imports or exports or whose company moves their operation overseas are entitled to reimbursements for job training and relocation costs.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney criticized the passage of the bill claiming companies will now be less restricted in their quest to relocate certain operations to countries where labor is less expensive.
The Trade Promotion Authority Web site provides information on how trade impacts each state in the Union.