Friday, February 18, 2011

Employers Take Advantage Of The Health Reform Law They Want Repealed

Although six in 10 employers hope health reform will be repealed, a recent survey reveals that seven in ten believe some parts of health care reform should stay in place and almost six in ten believe reform was long overdue. And at least one ACA program has proven very popular with corporate America.

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) expects to pay out about $3.6 billion in reimbursements for medical expenses for the Early Retiree Reimbursement Program in fiscal year 2011, which began on Oct. 1, 2010 and ends on Sept. 30, 2011.

According to the agency's budget for fiscal year 2012, as of Jan. 25, 2010, more than 5,000 early retiree medical plan sponsors had been approved for participation and about $1 billion had been paid. All Fortune 500 employers have applied for the program.

The remaining $1.4 billion balance of the $5 billion allocated for the program by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is expected to be exhausted in fiscal year 2012. Since late January, almost 300 additional firms have begun participation in the ERRP. A state-by-state listing is available here.

The ACA established the ERRP as a temporary measure to reimburse part of the claims costs for participating employment-based plans that provide health insurance coverage for early retirees ages 55 through 64, and their eligible spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents. The ERRP will reimburse for 80% of a plan's individual claims that are between $15,000 and $90,000, indexed for inflation. The program is effective June 1, 2010, and ends on the earlier of Jan. 1, 2014, or when the $5 billion appropriated for the program is exhausted.

For a comprehensive analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including the full text of the law and additional information on health reform implementation and other recent developments in employee benefits, just click here.


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