Kentucky’s state employee health plan received nearly $30 million from a federal program established under the new health care law meant to help pay for early retiree benefits. Nationwide, $535 million in health benefit costs have been reimbursed through the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, says a press release from Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The program was set up to keep employee-sponsored health plans “providing coverage to retirees who are 55 or older but not yet eligible for Medicare,” The Courier-Journal‘s Patrick Howington reports. Most employers have stopped doing so. In 1988, two of three employers provided health coverage to their retirees. In 2009, only one in three did. The funds will help keep premium increases from rising too sharply, Kentucky Personnel Secretary Tim Longmeyer said.
Kentucky’s state plan includes about 45,000 retirees and some spouses or dependents. Only state plans in California, New Jersey and Georgia received more funds. Two undisclosed Kentucky health plans received about $123,000 in funding. More than 30 Kentucky health-plan sponsors have been approved to participate. Sponsors can “only apply to recoup claims for retirees whose health costs exceed $15,000,” Howington reports. (Read more)