Healthcare Benefits Bill May Impact Small Business Costs
A bill that codifies into state law 10 health services covered under the federal Affordable Care Act now awaits action in the Senate after passage in the House.
But what’s unclear is the impact the bill may have on businesses with health insurance policies that don’t cover all 10 of those categories.
It could increase healthcare costs for those companies—typically small businesses—and their employees.
The House passed HB 5210 April 26 by a 114-32 vote.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Sean Scanlon (D-Guilford), chair of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee.
It codifies the following services: ambulatory patient services, prescription drugs, emergency care, mental health services, hospitalization, rehabilitative services, preventive and wellness services, laboratory services, pediatric care, and maternity and newborn care.
Scanlon said the bill ensures that Connecticut residents retain those healthcare services despite efforts in Washington to end the ACA.
A fiscal note attached to the bill indicates that it may increase costs for municipalities with employee health plans that don’t cover all 10 categories.
“Any additional coverage requirements will be reflected in increased premium costs for the municipality when they enter into new health insurance contracts after January 1, 2019,” the state’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis reported.
Scanlon argued that it won’t affect premium rates because the benefits codified in the bill are already covered by insurance plans.
But since the bill is likely to increase premium costs for municipalities, it stands to reason that it could increase costs for some businesses as well.
The law, if passed, applies only to plans that are fully insured. Typically, these are carried by smaller employers that can’t afford to self-insure.
It does not apply to self-insured plans like those used by the state and other large employers, as those plans operate under federal—not state—law.
CBIA will continue to monitor the bill.
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