At least 20 Blues plans have qualified for a new federal early retiree reinsurance program for their employees, as have a handful of hospitals and systems, according to HHS.
Blues eye green
Some 20 plans eligible for reinsurance program
Not-for-profit Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans from across the country were among the 2,000 employers and unions accepted into the first round of financing for the $5 billion program, according to a list provided by HHS.
The companies will receive federal reimbursement, starting this fall, for high medical claims costs incurred by their retirees ages 55 to 65. This reinsurance program is one of the first provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to go into effect.
Blues plans in Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and other states are among the participants. The largest not-for-profit Blues company in the nation, Health Care Service Corp., with plans in Illinois, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, also is participating. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan is on the list as well.
The largest for-profit health insurers were not on the initial list of accepted companies.
It's unclear how much of the $5 billion in federal funding the insurers will receive. HHS said claims will be paid out on a rolling basis. The program runs through the end of 2013.
Blues plans contacted for this story said that they could not comment by deadline on their costs for early retiree coverage, or how much they expect to save through the program. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association also declined comment by deadline. During the health reform debate, the association contended that the reform bills would make healthcare less affordable.
More than a dozen hospitals also signed up for the early retiree reinsurance program. These include Novant Health in Winston-Salem, N.C.; 621-bed Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston; Martin Memorial Health Systems in Stuart, Fla.; Stanford Hospital & Clinics in Palo Alto, Calif.; the OSF Healthcare in Peoria, Ill.; the Queen's Health System in Honolulu; and 538-bed Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas.
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