Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today highlighted a provision of the recently enacted health care reform law allowing employers who offer health coverage to early retirees to begin applying for help with the costs starting today, June 29. The law, formally titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has a number of provisions that go into effect before the end of this year.
“The Early Retiree program under health reform is good for our employers and good for Americans who retire before age 65,” Grijalva said. “Americans deserve access to quality, affordable health insurance at every age and every stage of life, and employers deserve the financial relief to do right by their employees while competing in the global marketplace.”
In recent years, the skyrocketing costs of health care have forced employers to choose between staying competitive and providing workers and retirees with quality health coverage. In the last 20 years, the portion of large firms covering retired employees has dropped by more than half, leaving those too young for Medicare without access to affordable care.
The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will invest $5 billion in financial assistance for employer health plans offered to early retirees. This initiative will provide premium relief for employers and increase access to high-quality medical coverage.
“This program will potentially help hundreds of thousands of Americans aged 55 to 65, who are too young for Medicare, retain the early retiree coverage from their employer that they desperately need,” Grijalva said. “Congressional Republicans calling for repeal of health reform would deny America’s businesses this critical help and deny early retirees peace of mind and access to quality health care.”
The program will last until more permanent features of the law go into effect in 2014, when the health insurance exchanges begin.
Starting today, employers can go to www.hhs.gov/ociio to fill out applications for participating in the Early Retiree program. Program participants will be able to submit claims for medical care of their early retirees going back to June 1, 2010.