Health Reform Retiree Plan’s Budget Drying Up, GAO Says
In a report released on Monday, the Government Accountability Office warned that the $5 billion in funding that the federal health reform law allotted for the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will be depleted by September 2012. GAO said HHS already has spent about $2.9 billion of the funds for the program, which helps cover the health costs for retirees older than age 55 who do not yet qualify for Medicare. The program also is intended to help prevent employers from dropping retiree health coverage before reform law provisions that prohibit insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions take effect in 2014. In a statement released on Monday, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) criticized HHS for its funding distribution methods. However, federal officials said the accelerated pace of the programÂ was an indicator of the program's success.
- "Fund To Pay for Early Retirees' Health Insurance Running Out" (Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal, 10/31).
- "Enzi Alleges Political Favoritism in Retiree Program" (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 10/31).