Compared to existing small group quoting and enrollment systems from the insurers and the Cal Choice private exchange, the Covered California SHOP program seems a little clunky and unfinished. If an employer wants to realize the tax credits for contributing to employee health insurance premiums they have to have a small group plan through Covered California. Except for the option to purchase pediatric dental plans for dependent children, SHOP offers no adult dental or vision insurance.
Small Group Health Insurance Plans
Posts related to small group employer based health insurance plans, eligibility, employees, enrollment, rates, plans.
For a brief window of time, small businesses and nonprofits can enroll in a small group health plan without meeting all the minimum requirements. The Affordable Care Act has a special provision to encourage employers to offer a small group health plan to see if it is right for the employees and the owners. Consequently, some of the rules have been waived so that small groups can test the waters.
Many Californians are seeing their individual and family health insurance premiums jump with the inclusion of all the new Affordable Care Act benefits and regulations. A small sampling of the new ACA rates shows that Covered California individual health plans are comparably priced with current and future small group plans offered in California.
Kaiser Permanente has put together a very simple to use Affordable Care Act tax credit calculator for small groups. The calculator only works for small business groups in California. It is not calibrated for non-profits which have a different tax credit allowance for employer contributions to employee health insurance for 2014.
Whether your group doesn’t offer a health plan for employees or you’re considering dropping your group plan and letting your employees migrate to the new health insurance exchange established by the ACA, your employees will appreciate some assistance with enrollment. States are setting up In-Person Assistance programs to help individuals and families enroll in the new health plans to become eligible for the premium assistance.
While the filed rate increases of Anthem Blue Cross may be unreasonable that hardly justifies their being banned from the Covered California small employer group program. There is also the prospect that Anthem Blue Cross might be forecasting a sharp drop in membership of their small group plans as small businesses abandon the plans or employees leave to purchase subsidized health insurance through Covered California.
While having a fully functional small business Covered California portal is important, it still remains to be seen how many of the estimated 375,000 small businesses in California will actually participate to set up health insurance plans for employees.
There is the possibility that under the health insurance exchange and the construction of the new individual plans we could see premium rates less than what is being quoted today.
While there is no doubt that healthcare costs are escalating, there may be other reasons beyond pure inflation that is driving Anthem and other carriers to seek rate increases.
Anthem Blue Cross announced on October 9th that certain small group health insurance plans regulated by the California Department of Insurance will receive a one-time credit on their December invoices.