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More than 4.5 million benefit from Early Retirement Reinsurance Program Posted: March 3rd, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Implemented by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the Early Retirement Reinsurance Program (ERRP) has been deemed a success by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As of Dec. 31, more than 5,000 employers have signed up to participate in the program, which reimburses them for retiree health insurance costs. HHS reports that $535 million in reimbursements have been made to the benefit of 4.5 million Americans.

In a statement outlining the program's progress, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, "the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program is helping to control health care costs and protect coverage for early retirees and their families." The ERRP pays participating companies a portion of the health care costs associating with insuring early retirees, their spouses, surviving spouses and dependents.

According to the HHS, the percentage of large firms offering retiree health insurance has declined from 66 percent in 1988 to 29 percent in 2009. By reimbursing companies for some of their health insurance costs, it is hoped more employers will continue to offer these retiree benefits.

Sebelius continued, "this program is providing critical financial relief to help states, private employers and other organizations preserve access to affordable health coverage for millions of Americans."