While the Affordable Care Act brings “affordable” coverage to those individuals that are eligible for government subsidies, the rest of the American people are bracing themselves for the price increases that have come about as a result of the law. Most people that are already covered will inevitably experience a hike in premiums, but there are some creative ways to minimize and delay the impact on small group employer plans.
For small group insurances, the traditional premium rate based only on the subscribers age and location is no longer in existence. Instead, each member covered will now be considered, and the price will be a combination of the subscriber’s evaluation added to each dependent. This rate structure is scheduled to take effect January 1st, 2014.
This restructuring, which causes rate increases, can be avoided for another year by simply renewing early. There are only a few days left to get renewals in before the change, so time is of the essence.
Reduced Employer Cost
Previously, employers were mandated to pay at least 50% of health insurance premiums for their employees in order to qualify for a small group plan. This has deterred businesses from offering health insurance because they were not able to afford the 50% requirement.
Now, carriers are offering incentives to employers in order to help them enroll in small group health plans and get their employees covered. Carriers such as Covered California, HealthNet, Kaiser, and United Healthcare are offering to write policies for small groups, even if the employer does not contribute to the premium. There is a small window of opportunity for this as well. Employers must apply between November 15, 2013 and December 15, 2013 in order to take advantage of this offering.
The Covered California SHOP is another place to look for small group health coverage. This is a resource for small businesses and brokers to research rates and apply for coverage. Individuals can also apply for coverage through Covered California as well as determine any subsidies they are eligible for. What many people don’t realize, however, is that they don’t have to do the research on their own. Brokers and Insurance Agencies are happy to assist in this process and provide important information to consider when selecting a plan. Small businesses who are not planning to offer small group health insurance to their employees can consult with a broker who can help their employees obtain the required individual insurance as well.
While the Affordable Care Act will offer health insurance benefits to those who previously could not obtain or afford it, small businesses can incur increased financial burdens if they are not prepared for the upcoming changes. By taking advantage of the limited time opportunities provided by the carriers, businesses that need small group coverage can prevent a dramatic rise in healthcare costs and avoid costly fines for not having insurance at all.
Contact us today to speak with a Certified for Covered California broker regarding your healthcare options.