Monday, April 11, 2011

San Angelo's ERRP Goose Egg

As of March 17, 2011 the federal government reimbursed employers nearly $1.8 billion under the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP).  AT&T banked $140 million and Verizon $92 million.  The City of San Angelo (COSA) failed to get a penny in ERRP funding.  Other Texas cities received funds (approximate amounts):

Austin--$1.7 million
North Richland Hills--$45,000
San Angelo--$0

ERRP provided real cash, like a bank,  to offset retiree health care costs.  San Angelo's City Council viewed the program as a lottery, months after HHS approved COSA for ERRP participation.  One has to buy a lottery ticket to have a chance to win.  Under ERRP, one must submit a claim to be paid.  This has been problematic according to Ty Meighan, Public Information Officer, who wrote in an e-mail:

According to our HR department, we are having some issues with BC/BS and just last week obtained the ability to run reports from them. There are seven months of data that must be sorted and applicability/eligibility determined. (2-28-11)
It's odd that BC/BS was able to help the Employees Retirement System of Texas get $30 million in ERRP reimbursement, but couldn't help San Angelo.  Employers can file once a quarter for reimbursement, so early filers get the most federal funding.

Modern Healthcare reported:

The federal government is retiring its reinsurance funding program for early retirees, effective May 5. Based on spending trends, the CMS said it would no longer accept new employer applicants after May 5. The program began disbursing payments to plan sponsors last October for claims incurred after June 1, 2010. 

ERRP could be a lottery for the City of San Angelo.  It may be the lost winning ticket.

No comments: