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Boomers Come of Age: Covering Early Retirees and Other 50-64 Year-Olds

Monday, January 24, 2011

Unemployment has hit everyone hard since the economic downturn began in 2007. And while workers age 50-64 tend to have lower rates of uninsurance than other age groups, they are especially hard hit by losing their jobs and with them their employer-sponsored health benefits. About 8.6 million adults ages 50 to 64 were uninsured in 2009, 1.1 million more than in 2008, a bigger percentage increase than other age groups.

Beginning in 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as ACA) aims to make life easier for the uninsured through state-based insurance exchanges and subsidies available through them. But the ACA also contains provisions that may be especially helpful right now for uninsured 50-64 year olds.

One provision, the Early Retirement Reinsurance Program (ERRP), provides incentives for employers to maintain retiree health benefits for those aged 50-64. And because of their higher incidence of chronic conditions, those aged 50-64 are more likely to be able to qualify for the ACA-created Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), through which people with health conditions that make private coverage unaffordable may be able to obtain coverage.

What provisions in the ACA are of special interest to those aged 50-64, especially older workers and early retirees? To what extent are boomers at risk of being uninsured? Will ERRP funding last to 2014?

To answer these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and AARP sponsored a January 24 briefing. Panelists were: Sara Collins, The Commonwealth Fund; Richard Popper, HHS’ Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight; John Rother, AARP; and Joseph Antos, American Enterprise Institute. Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated.


 Sara Collins, The Commonwealth Fund, Speaker
 Richard Popper, Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, Speaker
 John Rother, AARP, Speaker
 Joseph Antos, American Enterprise Institute, Speaker
(Click on the camera icon to see a video of the speaker's presentation.)

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Boomers Come of Age: Covering Early Retirees and Other 50-64 Year-Olds (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 1/24/2011
Event Summary: Event Summary (Word Document), 1/28/2011
Full Webcast/Podcast: Boomers Come of Age: Covering Early Retirees and Other 50-64 Year-Olds

The full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

Sara Collins Presentation (PowerPoint), 1/24/2011
John Rother Presentation (PowerPoint), 1/24/2011
Richard Popper Presentation (PowerPoint), 1/24/2011

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Agenda (Word Document), , 1/24/2011
Materials List (Word Document), , 1/24/2011
Expert Sourcelist (Word Document), , 1/24/2011
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 1/24/2011
Event Summary (Word Document), , 1/28/2011

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Health Reform Changes Insurance Rules, AARP Public Policy Institute, 7/1/2010
- By Gerry Smolka and Shelly-Ann Sinclair
Health Care Reform Legislation Increases the Availability of Health Insurance, AARP Public Policy Institute, 5/1/2010
- By Shelly-Ann Sinclair
Health Care Reform: What’s at Stake for 50- to- 64 Year Olds?, AARP Public Policy Institute, 12/14/2010
- By Gerry Smolka, Leigh Purvis, and Carlos Figueiredo
Health Care Reform Creates Early Retirement Reinsurance Program Opportunity for Plan Sponsors, Dorsey and Whitney, LLP, 5/20/2010
- By Timothy Arends
Millions of Baby Boomers Will Gain Coverage Under Health Reform, Especially Those in Southern and Western States, The Commonwealth Fund, 12/14/2010
- By Sara Collins
Realizing Health Reform’s Potential: Adults Ages 50-64 and the Affordable Care Act of 2010, The Commonwealth Fund, 12/1/2010
- By Sara Collins
The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program: $5 Billion Will Last About Two Years, Employee Benefits Research Institute, 7/1/2010
- By Paul Fronstin
$1B Paid Under Early Retiree Reinsurance Program: HHS, Business Insurance, 1/5/2011
- By Jerry Geisel
Out of Work, Out of Options and Over the Hill, Wall Street Journal, 10/24/2010
- By Emily Glazer
Realizing Health Reform's Potential: Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans Created by the Affordable Care Act of 2010, The Commonwealth Fund, 10/4/2010
- By Jean Hall and Jan Moore
Health Care Reform to Raise Costs for Many Businesses, Speaker Says, Midland Reporter Telegram, 1/5/2011
- By Kathleen Thurber
The Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 10/4/2010
Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 4/29/2010
- By Jay Angoff and Kathleen Sebelius


Sara Collins of The Commonwealth Fund describes how difficult it is for uninsured 50 - 64 year-olds to get health coverage on their own, and how the new health reform law can help them. From the Jan. 24 briefing cosponsored by AARP. (7 min.)

John Rother of AARP explains how the recession has impacted health coverage for 50-64 years olds, and how the health reform law is helping. From the Jan. 24 briefing cosponsored by AARP. (11 min.)

Richard Popper of the HHS Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight explains the workings of two new programs created by the health reform law, assisting early retirees and uninsured people with pre-existing conditions. From the Jan. 24 briefing cosponsored by AARP. (15 min.)

Joe Antos of the American Enterprise Institute discusses potential weaknesses with the assistance the health reform law offers early retirees and uninsured people with pre-existing conditions. From the Jan. 24 briefing cosponsored by AARP. (13 min.)


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