MEA, MESSA to Get Aid for Retiree Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Education Special Services Association will get financial aid from the federal government to help pay for health care for their early retirees, according to information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

More than 160 Michigan unions, businesses, educational institutions and local units of government are on the receiving list for early retiree money through national health care reform legislation, according to the department.

The "Affordable Care Act" reimburses unions and other employers a share of health care costs for retirees who are too young to receive Medicare, according to the site. The union and MESSA, and others on the list, can use the money to reduce their own costs or to cut the premiums or deductibles they charge retirees. MESSA is the third-party insurance administrator affiliated with the MEA. The MEA's financial services affiliate is also approved for early retiree funding.

The Detroit Free Press reported that 44 new unions and other employers joined the list last week. The program will end in 2014 when state health insurance exchanges are expected to be in operation, the Free Press reported.

The list also includes more than 60 Michigan cities and counties and a number of other unions and businesses.

The Detroit Free Press, "Funding to help more employers, unions pay for health care," Oct. 28, 2010

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Early Retiree Insurance Program: Michigan"

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "'Cause You Know It Don't Matter Anyway: Why the MEA Keeps Going Too Far," March 3, 2010