Early retiree insurance covers 60,000, so far

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program has helped cover more than 60,000 workers since its implementation in December, according to the National Journal.

Altogether, HHS has paid out about $535 million to date to help provide healthcare coverage for employees over the age of 55 who may have had to retire early but remain too young to qualify for Medicare. The program was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was signed into law a year ago. Congress has authorized $5 billion for its implementation, which is temporary until the more comprehensive portions of reform are enacted later in the decade.

"This program is providing critical financial relief to help states, private employers and other organizations preserve access to affordable health coverage for millions of Americans," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

One of the biggest recipients to date has been the California Public Employees' Retirement System, which has received $57.8 million, more than 10 percent of the total disbursed.

The HHS report said the biggest recipients have been entities on the state level, non-profit, commercial, union and religious organizations.

To learn more:
- here's the National Journal article
- read the HHS report (.pdf) 

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