Thursday, May 6, 2010

Health insurance help for early retirees to start June 1

The federal government announced plans to start its new reinsurance program for early retirees June 1 - several weeks ahead of the June 21 start date required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The new program will provide $5 billion, over the next three and half years, to both self-funded and insured employer health plans. The funds must be used to help lower the employer's own health costs, provide premium relief to their workers and families or a combination of both.

According to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the number of large firms offering retiree coverage to its workers has dropped more than 30 percent over the last 20 years.

Beginning in late June, employers can apply for reimbursements of up to 80 percent of claims costs between $15,000-$90,000. Claims incurred between the start of the plan year (usually Jan. 1) and June 1 count towards the $15,000 threshold. But only claims that occur after June 1 are eligible for reimbursement.

We've posted some basic information on our health reform pages, but for more details go to