As HHS announced in April, it stopped accepting new applications to participate in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) on May 6 due to the limited availability of funding.

Last month, HHS issued a Reimbursement Update that stated that over $2.4 billion in reimbursements had been paid to approved plan sponsors through May 3. This means that of the original $5 billion allotted for ERRP reimbursements under PPACA, almost half has already been disbursed.

However, on May 26, Senators John Kerry, Debbie Stabenow, and Richard Blumenthal (the original cosponsors of the ERRP portion of the health care reform legislation) introduced the Retiree Health Coverage Protection Act (S. 1088), which would provide an additional $5 billion of funding to the ERRP and thereby allow more employers to participate and continue to help current participating employers reduce the cost of providing retiree medical coverage. The bill does not mention any methods for offsetting this increase in ERRP funding, so it is uncertain what the likelihood of the bill’s passage will be.