Mid-week update

The HHS Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight has created a website for the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program.  This Affordable Care Act program provides group health plans with reinsurance for claims incurred by retirees aged 55 and older who are not eligible for Medicare. The stop loss threshold is $15,000 and the cap is $90,000, but the appropriated funding is limited. OCIIO also announced the 2,000 successful applicants for participation in the EERP.  The list contains many state and local government plans, but no FEHB plans because HHS barred FEHB plans from EERP participation in its interim final regulation. The FEHBlog tries not to be bitter.

The Kaiser Family Foundation released its Employer Health Benefits 2010 Annual Survey today. According to the Foundation’s press release,

Workers on average are paying nearly $4,000 this year toward the cost of family health coverage – an increase of 14 percent, or $482, above what they paid last year, according to the benchmark 2010 Employer Health Benefits Survey released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET).

The jump occurred even though the total premiums for family coverage, including what employers themselves contribute, rose a modest 3 percent to $13,770 on average in 2010, the survey found.  In contrast, the amount employers contribute for family coverage did not increase.

Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) continue to dominate the employer market, enrolling 58 percent of covered workers.  Average PPO family premiums topped $14,000 annually in 2010.

TRICARE announced the launch of a Retired Reserve program for retired Armed Forces Reservists and National Guardsmen under age 60.

Retired Reservists may qualify to purchase TRR coverage if they are under the age of 60 and are not eligible for, or enrolled in, the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. They must also be members of the Retired Reserve of a Reserve component and qualified for non-regular retirement. For instructions on how to qualify for and purchase TRR go to

About ten years ago, TRICARE created a TRICARE for Life program that attracted thousands of FEHB Program enrollees, harming the FEHBP risk pool and increasing TRICARE costs. It’s nice to see that TRICARE learned from that experience by excluding FEHBP enrollees from this new program.