Early Retiree Health Insurance Assistance

WASHINGTON, July 2 (UPI) — The U.S. government is accepting applications from the private and public sector to provide help for those who provide health insurance for early retirees.

The $5 billion program, created under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, provides financial assistance to businesses and governments that promised healthcare coverage to their retirees before they are eligible for Medicare.

The recession has resulted in more people retiring early and many businesses and governments that once promised healthcare benefits have ended the programs because of cost. Many early retirees have difficultly buying health insurance privately because of the cost.

“The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will help employers continue to provide much-needed health insurance to their retirees,” Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. “Americans who have retired but are not yet eligible for Medicare are often unable to find coverage that is affordable and meets their health needs on the individual market. This program will help both retirees and employers facing spiraling healthcare costs and ensure more Americans have access to the healthcare they need.”

The program is a bridge to the enactment of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2014, when the early retirees will be able to use the new healthcare exchanges, which promises a more competitive and less costly individual health insurance market, Sebelius said.

More information is at: www.hhs.gov/ociio.

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