One of the first big changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was voted on last week and passed. The bill was approved in both the House and the Senate eliminating a provision in the law that would have imposed costly requirements on businesses with 51 to 100 employees. The bill was signed into law by the President yesterday.
This is great news for the bill that had bipartisan support and is a win for small businesses. The ACA has already made it hard on small businesses and if the definition of a small business had been redefined to include those that employee 51-100 employees they would have seen premium increases averaging 18%. Kurt Giesa, an actuary at Oliver Wyman said, “Many of the groups receiving such sizable increases would elect to drop their health insurance coverage and either self-fund or not offer any coverage at all.”
The bill was passed last Monday in the House and last Thursday in the Senate, this shows what can be done quickly with bipartisan support. This type of support was ushered in by months of lobbying and advocacy for the bill. There has been so much controversy surrounding the ACA between Republican and Democratic parties is is refreshing to see both sides working together to bring constructive change to the AC
A. There have been 13 bills passed since the ACA went into effect in 2010, but only one other instance had the Republican led congress in agreement that the bill would truly improve the Affordable Care Act.
This bill keeps the definition of small business to include those companies that are 50 employees or smaller, and gives each state the power to redefine small business to less than 100 if the state in and of itself chooses to do so. The way the Affordable Care Act was written it allowed states to determine the definition of small business in 2014 and 2015, but changed in 2016 to a federal standard of 100 or less employees. This bill keeps medium sized companies from much higher premium increases in 2016, which could have resulted in employees losing their employer sponsored coverage. There was a large potential for companies to either drop their coverage or go to self funded plans in 2016 if this bill had not passed. Thankfully employees and employers alike are safe due to our branches of government working together as one.
Read another article on the subject from the New York Times HERE