HHS Announces Approval for Early Retiree Reinsurance Program

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Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, has announced the approval of nearly 2000 businesses, state governments, and non-profit organizations for the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, which is designed to help employers continue to provide affordable health insurance coverage for retiring workers age 55 and older who are not yet eligible for Medicare.

Affordable Health Insurance Coverage for Early Retirees Not Eligible for Medicare

The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program was created by the Affordable Care Act as a bridge to the new health insurance Exchanges in 2014. The government program will provide $5 billion in financial assistance to employers and unions to help them maintain coverage for early retirees. The program will end on January 1, 2014 when the Exchanges are up and running.

Read: American Workers Paying More for Health Insurance

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Rising health care costs have made it difficult for employers to provide quality, affordable health insurance. “In these tough economic times, it is difficult for employers to keep up with skyrocketing health care costs for employees and retirees,” said Sebelius. “Many Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market.”

Employers accepted into the program will receive reimbursement for medical claims for retirees age 55 and older who are not eligible for Medicare, their spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents. Health benefits include medical, surgical, hospital, prescription drug, mental health services, and other benefits specified by the HHS. Only expenses incurred after June 1, 2010 are eligible for reimbursement.

Read: Working After Retirement Keeps Seniors Healthy

For more information about the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program and an interactive map displaying the employers that have been accepted into the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program please visit www.healthcare.gov.

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