House Passes Small Group Insurance Bill

September 29, 2015

pic-health-reformOn Monday, small business won an important victory, as the House approved an important reform of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act (H.R. 1624) passed by voice vote with bipartisan support. The measure would give states back the flexibility they previously had in determining the size of employers covered by the small group market, allowing them to add market stability, and contain premium growth for many small companies.

Introduced on March 25 by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, the bill gives states back the flexibility to decide whether to increase the small group size from 50 to 100 employees. Generally, small group health insurance rules have applied to employers with fewer than 50 employees, however under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) the rules governing small group plans will expand to groups of up to 100 employees beginning January 1, 2016. In doing so, many companies may see a significant increase in premiums, which could likely cause many of them to curtail coverage, drop coverage, or shift to a self-insurance option.

Reducing the high cost of health care on small businesses remains a top priority for NSBA. NSBA thanks Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) and Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) for their introduction of H.R. 1624, and for shepherding this bill to a successful conclusion on the House floor.

The debate now turns to the Senate, where final negotiations could advance the bill to the floor as early as this week. NSBA urges the Senate to move with dispatch to pass the bill and send it on to the President for his signature.