Nearly 2,000 businesses, unions and state governments have been approved thus far for the federal government's Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. Created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the program subsidizes health insurance costs for retiring workers age 55 and older who have chronic and high-cost health conditions. The program will remain in effect until the new health insurance exchanges provided for in the Act begin operation on January 1, 2014, or until the $5 billion in federal funding allocated for the program is exhausted.

Employers, unions, and government entities that cover insurance costs for retirees who are not eligible for Medicare, and their families, can receive reimbursement for their share of the retirees' healthcare expenses incurred after June 1, 2010. The threshold is $15,000 or more per plan year, per plan participant, in health benefit claims including medical, surgical, hospital, prescription drug and mental health services. Applications for the program continue to be accepted at the program's website by clicking here. All qualified applications will be approved, with reimbursement eligibility retroactive to June 1, 2010, until the funding is exhausted.