Washington state is one of the employers taking advantage of an early program included in the Affordable Care Act - Thanks to the Early Retiree Program, the state's Health Care Authority (the agency that provides health benefits to state employees) expects to save $24.2 million on its retiree health benefits this year, and $34.5 next year.
How does it work? The Early Retiree Program was created to help businesses continue to offer health insurance to those workers 55 and older who retire early, but don't yet qualify for Medicare. Applicants who are approved to participate in the program receive reinsurance for the claims of high-cost retirees and their families.
Approved applicants can use these funds to provide premium relief and other health care cost relief to their retirees and workers and their families, to offset increases in their own health care premiums or costs, or for a combination of these purposes.
See a full list of the Washington businesses that have been accepted into the program so far.