Bill would allow small employers to keep health plans

A California Senate bill that would allow businesses with 50 or fewer employees to keep existing health plans for an extra year to comply with the Affordable Care Act appears poised for approval, giving small employers a temporary reprieve on plan designs if and when it passes.

[caption id="attachment_94885" align="alignleft" width="202"] Sen. Mark DeSaulnier[/caption]

Senate Bill 1446, sponsored by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, is currently awaiting approval and has been ordered to the consent calendar. It appears there is little opposition.

The bill would give employers more flexibility with their health plans for the next two years, but rate increases could still be a factor, said Victor McKnight, a principle with EPIC Insurance Brokers in Petaluma.

"The day it gets signed, any group that has not yet renewed onto a new (Affordable Care Act) plan for small groups will be able to keep their plan for two years," he said. "Not at the original rate, but they won't be forced off.

"It's good for small businesses that they have the choice," he added.

But rate increases "are all over the board," Mr. McKnight said, making it difficult to predict what renewal season will look like this early, even with any added stability stemming from SB 1446.

[caption id="attachment_72289" align="alignleft" width="180"] Victor McKnight[/caption]

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