For millions of Americans ages 55-64, retiring early also means giving up their health security. Fewer and fewer employers provide coverage for these early retirees. And purchasing coverage in the individual market is not a viable option for many in this group, either because it’s unaffordable or because they have a preexisting condition like high blood pressure or diabetes.
But thanks to the new health insurance reform law, help is on the way. Starting in about three months, a new retiree reinsurance program will bring support for needed employer-based coverage for retirees.
Tomorrow at 1:00 PM EDT, I’ll be discussing this topic during our second in a series of webchats about the new health reform law and you. We’ll also be answering your questions.
You can view the webcast at www.hhs.gov/live. Email your questions in advance to Healthreform@hhs.gov. We’ll answer as many questions as we can on the webcast, and address others on our website in the days ahead.
The retiree reinsurance program provides $5 billion in temporary financial assistance so that employer plans can continue to provide valuable coverage to certain retirees. It will make it easier for employers to give benefits to the workers who made their companies strong, and give retired workers the peace of mind that comes with quality health insurance. You can learn more about the reinsurance program for early retirees by checking out this fact sheet (pdf).
The retiree reinsurance program is just one of the many ways early retirees will benefit from health insurance reform. Reform also helps to control costs, improves the quality of care for everyone, and strengthens Medicare.
Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services