I’m a firm believer in the saying, “The early bird gets the worm.” I’m one of those (annoying) people who loves doing holiday shopping in October and organizes birthday parties months in advance. 

It seems many of you are like-minded, since funds for the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program — created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a way to help employers offset the costs of maintaining retiree health benefits — went like hotcakes from nearly Day One and the program is well on it’s way to being drained well before it is due to end in 2014.

Employers were so eager to get their hands on ERRP money that the Health and Human Services Department stopped accepting ERRP applications on May 6, and an agency update last month showed that nearly half of the $5 billion earmarked for the program had been approved for payout to employers.

However, for employers who may have missed out on ERRP funds, there may be help on the way. On May 26, Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) — who originally cosponsored the ERRP provision of PPACA — introduced a new measure that would infuse another the $5 billion into ERRP.

No word on the bill’s chances for passage, especially in Congress’ current cost-cutting environment. But what do you think? Can/should this bill pass? Will increased ERRP funding be a significant help to employers? Hit the comments to share your thoughts.

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