WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Group Benefits Program was approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to participate in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (EERP) established under the Affordable Care Act. For participating cooperatives offering retiree health coverage, approval under EERP will provide NRECA’s Group Benefits Programs with an 80 percent reinsurance reimbursement for claims ranging from $15,000 to $90,000 for retirees 55 to 64 and their dependents.
“On behalf of the many hard-working electric cooperative employees and retirees, from linemen and customer service representatives to general managers and CEOs, I am very pleased NRECA’s application has been approved,” said Glenn English, CEO of NRECA.
“The vast majority of electric cooperative benefit plans administered by NRECA cover retirees because it’s the right thing to do. Now the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program is helping us continue to do the right thing,” English said.
NRECA, a not-for-profit association representing more than 900 member cooperatives that provide “at-cost” electric service to over 42 million people in 47 states, does not profit from the benefit plans it sponsors, including the Group Benefits Program, which is priced to run ‘at-cost,’ just like cooperatives.
The Group Benefits Program is the primary source of health insurance benefits for the cooperative community, saving members millions of dollars annually by providing the ability to pool risk. It currently makes medical and prescription drug insurance coverage available to over 100,000 employees, retirees and their dependants throughout the country – including over 1,800 retirees age 55 to 64.
“The ERRP payments will do more than help defray costs; NRECA will use ERRP reimbursements to maintain and enhance programs that already help improve health outcomes and contain costs,” English said. These programs include:
- Centers of Excellence programs, including Cancer, Bariatric Surgery, and Managed Transplants.
- Health Coaching, including member outreach and support for members with chronic and high-cost conditions such as: diabetes, asthma, heart failure, back surgery, and hip and knee replacement.
- Health Promotion Programs, including access to tools to assist them with assessing their health risks such as tobacco cessation, weight management and cardio-metabolic risk reduction.
The NRECA Plan is a self-insured & self-administered multiple-employer arrangement as defined in Section 3(40) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The Plan is sponsored by NRECA and maintained through a voluntary employees’ beneficiary association (“VEBA”) trust fund, established under section 501(c)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code. Each participating employer contributes to the Plan annually an amount sufficient to cover its plan of benefits. This unique structure allows member cooperatives to tailor benefit plans to meet their needs.
Created under the Affordable Care Act, ERRP provides $5 billion to assist approved, qualified employer plans such as NRECA’s Group Benefits Program with an 80% reinsurance reimbursement for claims ranging from $15,000 to $90,000 for retirees age 55 to 64 and their dependants.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.