Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Secretary Sebelius on New Benefits for Companies and Early Retirees in the Affordable Care Act

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today issued regulations establishing the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program in the Affordable Care Act. This temporary program will make it easier for employers to provide coverage to early retirees. You can find more information about this important new program at

Rising costs have made it hard for employers to provide quality, affordable health insurance for workers and retirees,” said Secretary Sebelius. “As a result, many Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare are worried about losing health insurance coverage through their former employers, putting them at risk of losing their life savings due to medical costs. This new program will provide much-needed relief so that employers can provide more retirees with quality, affordable insurance, starting this year.”

The percentage of large firms providing workers with retiree coverage has dropped from 66 percent in 1988 to 31 percent in 2008. The Affordable Care Act includes $5 billion in financial assistance to employers to help them maintain coverage for early retirees age 55 and older who are not yet eligible for Medicare. The program will end in 2014, when Americans will be able to choose from additional coverage options through the health insurance exchanges.

Eligible employers can apply for the program through the Department of Health and Human Services. Applications will be available by the end of June. Both self-funded and insured plans can apply, including plans sponsored by private entities, state and local governments, nonprofits, religious entities, unions, and other employers.

If you want to learn more about how this new benefit could affect you and your company or your family member who is considering early retirement, tune into the next Affordable Care Act web chat at

Secretary Sebelius and Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will host a web chat on the new Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Wednesday, May 5, at 11:30 A.M. EDT at

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