Funds to help cover NM retirees' health insurance

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The federal government will provide more than $5.9 million to help the New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority maintain health insurance coverage for retires.

The recently enacted health care law created the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, which provides financial relief to businesses, schools and other educational institutions, unions, state and local governments and nonprofits to help retirees have affordable health coverage.

The funds were announced by Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

The chairman of the authority's board of directors, Alfredo Santistevan, says the money will allow the agency to provide relief for retirees from increases in health care costs this year.

Businesses and other employers accepted into the program will receive reimbursement for medical claims for retirees who are at least 55 but not yet eligible for Medicare.