There is help for early retirees' health coverage costs, Owens says
Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 11:52 am

Congressman Bill Owens wants employers to know that those who offer health coverage to early retirees can apply for help with the costs.

The federal 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 while increasing access to high-quality medical coverage.

“Earlier this year, I voted for health reform because insurance costs are spiraling out of control both on a national level and for Upstate New York small business owners,” Owens said. “The Early Retiree program will help to deliver affordable access to quality care to those who retire before age 65 and allow our local employers to put our community back to work and compete in the global marketplace,” said Owens.

“The rising costs of insurance have forced Upstate entrepreneurs to choose between making a profit and providing quality workers and retirees with health coverage” Owens added. “In the past twenty years, coverage for retired employees has been cut in half, leaving retirees who are too young for Medicare without access to quality health care.”

The Early Retiree program will provide an important bridge for early retirees and their former employers as we move toward a more competitive, patient-centered health care system in 2014, when the Health Insurance Exchanges begin, Owens said.

“This is just one benefit of health care reform that can help potentially millions of working Americans and their employers. As we work to continue to implement these programs, it is important that Upstate New Yorkers understand what they qualify for so that they can receive the benefits and care they deserve,” said Owens.

Employers can go to www.hhs.gov/ociio to fill out the 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.