The first round of applications has been approved for the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, which provides temporary assistance to employers and unions to help make health care coverage more available to retired Americans. The program was created under the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare reform law enacted this spring.
“Applicants who are approved to participate in the program receive reinsurance for the claims for high-cost retirees and their families,” the government explained in a statement on HealthCare.gov. “Approved applicants can use these funds to provide premium relief and other healthcare cost relief to their retirees and workers and their families, to offset increases in their own healthcare premiums and costs, or for a combination of these purposes.”
“In these tough economic times, the combination of rising healthcare costs and lower revenues has made it increasingly difficult for private companies, unions, nonprofits, religious organizations, and state and local governments to provide quality and affordable health coverage for their retirees,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “… Access to affordable health insurance is not only a key component of retirement security but an important aspect of ensuring good jobs for everyone.”