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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced the first round of applicants accepted into the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. Nearly 2,000 employers, representing large and small businesses, State and local governments, educational institutions, non profits, and unions have been accepted into the program and will begin to receive reimbursements for employee claims this fall.
Created by the Affordable Care Act to help serve as a bridge to the new health insurance Exchanges in 2014, the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program provides $5 billion in financial assistance to employers and unions to help them maintain coverage for early retirees age 55 and older who are not yet eligible for Medicare. Businesses and other employers and unions that are accepted into the program will receive reimbursement for medical claims for early retirees and their spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents. Savings can be used to reduce employer health care costs, provide premium relief to workers and families, or both. The program ends on January 1, 2014 when State health insurance Exchanges are up and running.
“In these tough economic times, it is difficult for employers to keep up with skyrocketing health care costs for employees and retirees. 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,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will make it a little easier for employers to provide high-quality health benefits to their retirees as we work to put in place market reforms to lower costs for all.”
Rising health care costs have made it difficult for employers to provide quality, affordable health insurance for workers and retirees while also remaining competitive in the global marketplace. The percentage of large firms providing workers with retiree health coverage has dropped from 66 percent in 1988 to 29 percent in 2009. Health insurance premiums for older Americans are over four times more expensive than they are for young adults, and the deductible these enrollees pay is, on average, almost four times that for a typical employer-sponsored insurance plan.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight has approved nearly 2,000 plans representing a broad range of employers from 50 States and the District of Columbia into the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program in this first round of approvals with more applications being reviewed every day. In Pennsylvania, the following 103 organizations have been approved in the first round.
* Accuride Erie L.P.
* Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts
* Air Products and Chemicals, inc.
* Alcoa Inc.
* Allegheny Technologies Incorporated
* AmerisourceBergen Corporation
* Arkema Inc.
* Asbestos Workers Philadelphia Welfare Fund
* Bensalem Township School District
* Berwind Corporation
* Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc.
* Board of Trustees Southeastern Ironworker Health Care Plan
* Bucknell University
* Building Trades Health and Welfare Fund
* Burnharn Holdings, Inc.
* Carmeuse Lime, Inc.
* Carpenters Health & Welfare Fund of Philadelphia & Vicinity
* Ceratizit USA, Inc.
* City of Lancaster
* City of Philadelphia
* City of Pittsburgh
* City of Sharon
* Columbia Borough School District
* Comcast Corporation
* Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
* Cork & Seal USA, Inc.
* County of Allegheny
* County of Lancaster
* Cranberry Area School District
* Crayola LLC
* Dallas School District
* DENTSPLY International Inc.
* Downingtown Area School District
* Duquesne Light Holdings, Inc.
* East Penn Mfg. Co., Inc.
* Elizabethtown Area School District
* Elizabethtown Borough Office
* Elkern Metals, Inc.
* FMC Corporation
* Fort LeBoeuf School District
* Graphic Communications National Health and Welfare
* H.J. Heinz Company
* Harbor Creek School District
* Hempfield School District
* Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company
* Highmark Inc.
* Hospital Service Association of Northeastern Penns
* IAFF, Local 22, Joint Health Benefit Trust
* International Union of Operating Engineers Welfare Fund of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware
* Iron Workers Welfare Plan of Western Pennsylvania
* IUPAT District Council No. 21 Welfare Fund
* Juniata College
* Keystone Foods LLC
* Lampeter-Strasburg School District
* Local 6 BC&T Workers International Union AFL-CIO
* Longwood Gardens, Inc.
* Lower Paxton Township
* Magnesita Refractories Company
* Matthews International Corporation
* Millcreek Township School District
* Millcreek Township Supervisors
* Montgomery County Community College
* Oglebay Norton Company
* Ohio State Plumbers & Pipefitters Health & Welfare Fund
* Oil City Area School District
* Painters District Council No. 71 Health & Welfare
* Penncrest School District
* Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co.
* Pennsylvania State Education Association
* Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
* Pittsburgh Corning Corporation
* Plumbers & Pipe Fitters Local 354
* Plumbers Local Union No. 690 Health Plan
* PPG Industries, Inc.
* Republic Retiree VEBA Benefit Trust
* Retirees of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
* Sheet Metal Workers Health Fund
* Southco, Inc.
* Spang & Company
* Stearnfitters Local Union No. 420 Welfare Plan
* Steelworkers Health and Welfare Fund
* Sunoco, Inc
* Teachers Protective Mutual Life Insurance Company
* Teleflex Incorporated
* Temple University
* The Beistle Company
* The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church
* The Hershey Company
* The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
* The Pennsylvania State University
* The PNC Financial Services Group
* Township of Haverford
* Trustees of the IBEW Local Union No. 380 Health and Welfare Fund
* Trustees of the UFCW Local 23 and Employers Health Fund
* Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania
* TSK Partners, Inc.
* TWU Westchester Private Bus Lines Health Benefit Trust
* UFCW Local 1776
* United Refining Company
* Univest Corporation of Pennsylvania
* USW Retirees of the Dana Corporation Health Care Trust
* Villanova University
* Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
Starting in September, approved applicants can begin submitting claims dating back to June 1, 2010 and, starting in October, approved applicants will receive reinsurance payments on those claims. This policy allows more health benefit claims to qualify for reinsurance payments for plans this year.
"There has been a tremendous amount of interest from businesses and organizations from across Pennsylvania since the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program was announced just a few months ago,” said Sebelius. “Nationally, we have received applications from more than 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies, all major unions, and government entities in all 50 States and the District of Columbia, and we are delighted to be able to notify our first round of successful applicants here today.”
The approved applications represent nearly every sector of the economy: 32 percent of applications came from businesses, 26 percent from State and local governments, 22 percent from union sponsors, 14 percent from schools and other educational institutions, and 5 percent from non profits.
The nearly 2,000 approvals announced today are a subset of applications that have been received. HHS’ Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight is continuing to accept and review additional applications in the order in which they were submitted.
In addition to announcing these approved applications, HHS announced today two new information tools for employers and unions interested in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program – a new website (www.ERRP.gov) and a new hotline (877-574-3777 or 877-574-ERRP). Employers and unions can find the application form and application instructions online, as well as other relevant guidance and regulations from HHS.
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: