No Obamacare Repeal. What Now?
No Obamacare Repeal – Now What?
On March 24, House Speaker Paul Ryan decided not to send the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to the floor of the House of Representatives. The AHCA was the GOP leadership’s bill to overhaul the US healthcare system.
Following the decision not to vote, speaker Ryan said Obamacare would remain “the law of the land” for the foreseeable future.
Obamacare and Small Group Health Insurance
Politics aside; savvy small business owners can lower their health insurance costs if they’re smart shoppers.
Many small businesses were impacted by the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), either directly due to the size of their workforce, or indirectly due coverage mandates and requirements.
Employers with more than 50 full-time employees were required to offer group health insurance coverage, under the healthcare law. But, over 80 percent of U.S. employers have less than 20 employees, which means most were not required to cover employees.
In 2014, Obamacare expanded access to coverage for some small employers. For those employers with individual coverage, it created disruption.
Some had their plans cancelled because they didn’t meet the ACA’s benefit standards. Others that only had immediate family on their group health plans, were forced to buy coverage in the individual market.
Obamacare Today, and 3 Things Small Businesses Should Know
Fast-forward to 2017. Many small business owners still view Obamacare through the lens of their personal experience with the law from 2014.
Many are so busy running their business that they haven’t had time to research the coverage options they have available to them, or how they might qualify for certain products that could lower their insurance costs.
Here are a three things many small business owners are not aware of that could improve their access to health insurance coverage or reduce their costs.
1) You don’t always need to have W-2 employees to qualify for small group health insurance – In some states, with some insurance companies, it’s possible to qualify for small group health insurance coverage if you paid a 1099 contractor within the last year.
In the past it was often necessary to have full-time W-2 employees to qualify for a small group health insurance plan, but this this is no longer always the case.
Even if you don’t put your 1099 employee on the health insurance policy, many insurance companies are motivated to add new groups and will work with you to help you qualify.
2) Don’t assume you can’t afford group health insurance – Small group health insurance plans used to cost more than individual market plans, prior to Obamacare. But, when Obamacare required individual plans to cover pre-existing medical conditions, the same way group health plans did, the cost of small group insurance became more competitive.
As a result of these rule changes, costs for Obamacare plans have soared and many small group health plans have become more affordable by comparison. New research from eHealth found that the average small group health plan cost $286 per month, per person, compared to $393 per month for individual coverage under an Obamacare health plan.
3) Partially self-funded small group insurance products are saving employers money – If you’re struggling with the cost of health care for employees, investigate partially self-funded health plans).
Partially self-funded health plans are managed by private insurance companies, and employers and employees still pay monthly premiums for coverage. But, with a partially self-funded plan, the insurance company puts part of your monthly premiums into a reserve account.
The money in your reserve account is used to pay medical bills whenever someone at your company gets sick. Once the account is empty, the insurance company pays the remaining costs.
But, if your group stays healthy and you end the year with money left over in your reserve account, that money comes back to you in a refund at the end of the year.
The best part is that you can spend the surplus from your reserve account on anything you want.
If the cable news networks have anything to say about it, the future of Obamacare will likely remain an unresolved issue. Cable news ratings for the March 24 Obamacare vote (that never happened) were exceptionally good for a Friday afternoon.
Don’t let the lack of a resolution on the Affordable Care Act stop you from taking action to save money on your health insurance. If you’re too busy to shop for health insurance, give eHealth a call and let one of our agents shop for you.