September 08, 2010

Louisiana Businesses Benefit from Early Retiree Reinsurance Program

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana business customers among funding recipients

A number of Louisiana companies will soon be receiving federal funding to maintain health insurance coverage for their retirees 55 and older. The money is available as a result of a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that dedicates $5 billion to help employers that offer group health coverage to early retirees, ages 55 through 64, who are not yet eligible for Medicare. The new program is called the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program.

Run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), its goal is to help employers maintain their early-retiree coverage until the new state-run insurance exchanges become operational in 2014.

Many of the Louisiana businesses or entities chosen to receive HHS funding are Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana customers. Blue Cross contacted eligible business customers about the program and sent them claims projections and other information needed to apply to HHS for the program.

Businesses that are accepted into the program will receive reimbursement for medical claims for early retirees and their spouses, surviving spouses and dependents. Savings can be used to reduce employer healthcare costs and or provide premium relief to workers and families.

HHS continues to approve applications daily. The program ends on January 1, 2014 when State health insurance Exchanges are up and running or until funds run out.