The program begins June 1st and runs until January 1, 2014 or when the $5 billion allocated, I guess which ever comes first it sounds like. There must be some additional details in the works too on how to apply to be forthcoming.
When employees retire before they can qualify for Medicare this will offer the employer some assistance for keeping their health insurance alive and going. This is supposed to be in effect for 3-4 years and I wonder if the $5 billion will cover enough? People are still losing jobs versus retiring and I think with the current economy we can all agree retirement is becoming more of an illusion today and less attainable than ever. BD
WASHINGTON — The White House announced Tuesday that it would help pay medical bills for early retirees who have health insurance provided by their former employers.
The purpose of the temporary $5 billion program, authorized by the new health care law, is to reverse the erosion of employer-sponsored insurance.
The administration said its goal was to provide “as much relief as possible as soon as possible” to employer-sponsored health plans.
Under the program, the federal government can reimburse employers for 80 percent of the cost of claims from $15,000 to $90,000 a year for a retired worker who is 55 or older and not eligible for Medicare.
The program will run from June 1 of this year to Jan. 1, 2014, when many early retirees, like millions of other Americans, will be able to enroll in health plans offered through new state-based markets known as insurance exchanges.
Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, predicted that 4,500 employers — 3,000 private entities and 1,500 state and local governments — would seek federal aid under the program.
The federal aid will be available to private employers, state and local governments, nonprofit and religious organizations and labor unions that sponsor health benefit plans. It will be available to employers who pay premiums to insure early retirees, as well as to employers who assume the risk themselves and pay claims with their own assets.
The government said it would help defray the cost of medical claims paid by employer-sponsored plans for early retirees and their spouses, surviving spouses and dependents.
Under the new law, Ms. Sebelius said, employers must use the federal money to reduce “health benefit costs” for themselves or their retirees — for example, by reducing premiums, deductibles or co-payments
Some Retirees Will Receive Aid to Pay Health Bills - NYTimes.com
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