The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Monday additional employers and unions accepted into the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, including a number of applicants in Illinois.
Nearly 1,000 large and small businesses, state and local governments, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and unions have been accepted into the program and will begin to receive reimbursements for their early retirees' medical claims this fall.
The approvals announced bring the total number of approvals to nearly 3,000 organizations, including Caterpillar Inc. and the Cities of Peoria and Bloomington.
HHS announced the first round of nearly 2,000 approvals in August.
"I am incredibly pleased to see so many employers embrace this important new program to maintain coverage for people who often have a difficult time finding affordable coverage," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "The Affordable Care Act helps large and small businesses to provide security to early retirees and their families."
Created by the Affordable Care Act as another bridge to the new health insurance Exchanges in 2014, the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program provides $5 billion in financial assistance to employers and unions to help them maintain coverage for early retirees ages 55 and older who are not yet eligible for Medicare.
Businesses and other employers and unions that are accepted into the program will receive reimbursement for medical claims of their early retirees and their spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents.
The program ends on January 1, 2014, when the State-based health insurance Exchanges will be up and running.
Starting in October, sponsors with approved applications who submit funding requests will begin to receive reimbursement for eligible claims.
Employers and unions interested in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program should visit www.ERRP.gov or call 1-877-574-3777 or 877-574-ERRP.
Employers and unions can find the application form and application instructions, as well as other relevant guidance and regulations from HHS, online.
More information about the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, a full alphabetical list of participants, and an interactive map displaying participants by state is available online at http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/early_retiree_reinsurance_program.html.