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Nearly 3,600 employers and organizations to receive aid for early retiree health insurance Posted: October 28th, 2010

By Maryalene LaPonsie

As health care costs skyrocket, many employers have responded by eliminating health insurance for early retirees. To provide affordable health insurance for those who are too young for Medicare, the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program offers incentives for employers to continue offering medical insurance benefits to their early retirees.

Contained within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as the health reform law, Congress funded the program with $5 billion to subsidize health insurance benefits for retirees between 55 and 64 years of age. To receive government funding, employers must apply through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The department recently announced that nearly 700 more employers and unions had been approved for participation in the program. The new approvals bring the number of employers, unions, local governments and non-profit agencies eligible to receive incentives to nearly 3,600. Participating employers come from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

HHS continues to accept and review applications. The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will run until 2014 when state-run Health Insurance Exchanges will be available to provide alternative health insurance choices to early retirees and families.