Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will begin accepting applications today for the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) to help businesses maintain health care coverage for early retirees age 55 and older who don’t yet qualify for Medicare.
“This provision of health care reform to help Nevada businesses went into effect even sooner than anticipated, which means more businesses will be able to extend coverage to employees who retire early,” Reid said. “Not only is the new law increasing access to better quality coverage and care, it’s also helping businesses continue to provide a benefit to their workers that many companies have been unable to continue in recent years. I urge all Nevada businesses to apply for this assistance.”
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides $5 billion in funding for this program which was slated to begin on June 21, 2010. By paying claims dating back to June 1, however, more claims will qualify for reinsurance payments this year.
The ERRP will reimburse employers for medical claims for retirees age 55 and older who are not eligible for Medicare, and their spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents. Employers – including businesses, unions, state and local governments, and nonprofits – who provide health coverage for early retirees, are eligible to apply.
It will also help early retirees since employers will be more likely to retain their insurance coverage while they await Medicare eligibility.
Employers may use the funding to reduce their own health care costs, to provide premium relief to their workers and families, or for a combination of both. Employers will be reimbursed for up to 80 percent of retiree health claims that total between $15,000 and $90,000 and are incurred after June 1, 2010. This program will act as a bridge to the new health insurance marketplace established by the exchanges in 2014. Applications for the program, as well as application assistance, can be found at: www.hhs.gov/ociio.
In 2008, only 31 percent of large firms offered coverage to retirees, a drop from 66 percent in 1988. This new program is designed to curb those reductions in coverage and reduce the number of uninsured Nevadans during the transition to new coverage options.