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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced additional employers and unions accepted into the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, including a number of applicants in Pennsylvania. Nearly 1,000 large and small businesses, state and local governments, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and unions have been accepted into the program and will begin to receive reimbursements for their early retirees’ medical claims this fall. The approvals announced today bring the total number of approvals to nearly 3,000 organizations. HHS announced the first round of nearly 2,000 approvals in August.
“I am incredibly pleased to see so many employers embrace this important new program to maintain coverage for people who often have a difficult time finding affordable coverage," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The Affordable Care Act helps large and small businesses to provide security to early retirees and their families.”
Secretary Sebelius made the announcement from the Mine Safety Appliances Company (MSA) manufacturing plant in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania – one of the now nearly 3,000 organizations participating in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program.
Created by the Affordable Care Act as another 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 ages 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 of their early retirees and their spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents. Savings may be used to reduce employer or union health care costs, provide premium or out-of-pocket relief to workers, retirees, and their families, or both. The program ends on January 1, 2014, when the State-based health insurance Exchanges will be up and running.
HHS’ Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight has approved nearly 3,000 employer and union plans, representing a broad range of employers and unions from all 50 States and the District of Columbia, for participation in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, with more applications being reviewed every day.
In Pennsylvania, 165 organizations have been approved to date. A full list is available online: