The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will begin distributing in March an anticipated $7.7 billion in reinsurance payments for the 2015 benefit year, the agency announced Friday. The Affordable Care Act created the three-year transitional reinsurance program to protect health plans in the individual market from unexpectedly high-cost enrollees under the law’s new insurance rules. CMS anticipates collecting $6.5 billion for the 2015 program from health insurance issuers and self-insured group health plans and rolling over $1.7 billion in unused 2014 collections, leaving $7.7 billion for payments after administrative costs and mandated contributions to the general fund. The final 2015 coinsurance rate and payment amounts will be announced June 30.