Insurance Committee Seeks Help for Small Businesses
The leadership of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee sent a bipartisan letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting clarification of, or alternatively a one-year waiver from, certain federal health insurance rules requiring small employers to count their part-time employees for 2015.
A clarification or waiver would be a positive step for small businesses because the current rule is likely to cause a ping-pong effect on small employers.
If small employers are required to count their part-time employees in 2015 they may be pushed into the large group market because they will have to count more of their workforce.
Specifically in 2015 small group is defined as 50 or fewer employees.
But in 2016, the small group market definition expands to 100 employees so those same employers that were defined as small in 2014 and then large in 2015 (due to counting part-timers) will be sent back to small in 2016 when small group definition increases to 100 employees–hence the “ping pong” effect.
This letter is an important step to clarify this rule because the administrative hassle and impact is likely to be burdensome for certain small employers.
The letter was submitted to HHS earlier this month and we will provide an update when the agency responds.
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