Another 1,000 employers in the United States have been approved to participate in the federally funded Early Retiree Reinsurance Program which will help them pay for health insurance coverage for early retirees and their families.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that this brings the total of employers participating in the program to 3,000. They include small businesses, non-profit organizations, state and local governments, unions and educational institutions.
Roughly $5 billion will be distributed among these employers to help them maintain coverage for early retirees ages 55 and older who aren't yet eligible for Medicare. Employers accepted into the program receive reimbursement for medical claims of early retirees and their spouses, surviving spouses and dependents. Employers can use the money to offset increases in their premiums or help retirees and their families pay for premiums or out-of-pocket health care costs.
The program expires Jan. 1, 2014 when state-based health insurance exchanges are operating. The exchanges will provide a competitive one-stop shop where consumers can compare and purchase health insurance plans.
Applications for the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program are still being accepted.