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FAQs - Early Retiree Reinsurance Program
General Information
 
What is the ERRP?
The ERRP (Early Retiree Reinsurance Program) is a federal program that is intended to help employers and plan sponsors provide health care coverage for early retirees and their dependents.
 
Is OEBB considered a plan sponsor who can participate in this program?
Yes, OEBB submitted an application and was accepted into this program in October 2010.
 
 

 
The Notice Sent to Members

I received a notice about the ERRP, but I didn’t quite understand what it meant, or what I should do. Can you explain it in simpler terms?
The ERRP (Early Retiree Reinsurance Program) is a federal program that is intended to help employers and plan sponsors continue to provide health care coverage for early retirees and their dependents.  The notice you received is one that was written by the federal government and is required for all participants (i.e., OEBB).  You do not need to take any action.
 
Couldn’t you have explained it that simply the first time?
Unfortunately, we were required to send the notice exactly as it was provided to us by the ERRP.
 
 

 
Use of Funds

The notice said there were different ways the funds could be used. Who decides how the OEBB funds will be used?
The ERRP limits the way these funds can be used. OEBB’s application to the program stated that funds would be used to buy down premium increases in future plan years, which is one of the few available options.
 
Does that mean early retirees will have different rates than active employees on the OEBB plans for the 2011-12 plan year?
No.  Early retirees are grouped and rated with active employees (i.e., pay the same premium amounts) under the OEBB plans. The ERRP allows funds to be used for the benefit of all plan participants when this is the case.
  
What about this plan year (2010-11)? Can’t you reduce our premiums now?
No, the administrative cost of changing the current premiums would needlessly use up much of the funding received. Buying down future premium increases is the most efficient use of the funding. 
 
What if I disagree with the Board’s decision on how to use these funds?
The Board invites public comment at all Board meetings, which can be submitted by email to rose.mann@state.or.us with the phrase “public comment” in the subject line. Members can also send an email to the Board at OEBB.Board@state.or.us.
 
 

 
Employers/School Districts
 
Can my school district apply as an “employer” and participate in the ERRP?
Not if all your health insurance plans are provided through OEBB. As the plan sponsor, OEBB represents all participating districts. 
 
Do I need to do anything to make sure my district receives our fair share of the ERRP funds OEBB receives?
No. All OEBB participating entities and entity employees will benefit from the lowered premium increases in the 2011-12 plan year.
 

 
Individuals/Members (including retirees and COBRA participants)

Do I need to do anything?
No. The notice you received is one that was written by the federal government and is required for all participants (i.e., OEBB).  You do not need to take any action.
 
Should I arrange my retirement plans around ERRP in order to get the benefit?
No, the ERRP should not alter your plans for retirement.
 
How do I enroll in the program?
Individuals do not enroll in ERRP. The program is designed for employers and plans sponsors to help them provide coverage for all their members as a group. If you are enrolled in an OEBB medical plan, you will automatically receive the benefit of OEBB’s participation in the program.
 
Will I notice a difference in rates for 2011-2012?
At the time the 2011-12 rates are published, OEBB will identify the impact of the program on the premium renewals.
 
Can I get some of the money to pay for my retiree premiums?
No. The program is designed for plan sponsors and employers, not individuals. As an individual participant in the OEBB plan, you receive the benefit without needing to take any action on your own.
 
Does this mean my retiree plans will be changed and/or cancelled?
No. The ERRP will not affect plan design or plan offerings.
 
How will this affect my COBRA rates?  
COBRA rates are equal to OEBB rates + 2%. Therefore, when OEBB buys down premium increases for 2011-12, the overall effect on OEBB rates will carry over to COBRA participants’ rates as well.
 
I’m turning 65 in a couple of months.  How can I take advantage of this program?
The ERRP program is designed to help employers and plan sponsors who provide coverage to “early retirees” (those who retire prior to age 65), in order to help those members bridge the gap to Medicare. As long as you are enrolled in an OEBB medical plan and are not yet eligible for Medicare, you will automatically receive the benefit of OEBB’s participation in the program by having a premium that is slightly lower than it otherwise would have been. Once you turn 65 and become Medicare eligible, you will no longer be eligible for OEBB coverage and the program would not apply to Medicare coverage or any supplemental coverage you may purchase through the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) or individually.
 
 

 
More Program Details
 
How can I learn more about the details of the ERRP program?
More details can be found on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website and the ERRP program website.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Have questions on a different topic? Go back to the main Frequently Asked Questions page.