November 15, 2017

Baker gets key small business insurance extension

Courtesy
The Baker Administration received federal approval for an extension on rating factors for small group health insurance plans that the state says will keep premium costs down for small employers.

The Baker Administration on Monday said it had secured approval from the federal government to extend existing small group health insurance rating factors in order to curb premium increases and encourage market stability for small employers.

The rating factors are permitted under state law, but don't meet federal requirements. Through a series of requests to U.S. Department of Human Services, the state has been able to maintain small group rating factors in order to avoid market disruption and maintain premium consistency for small employers.

Massachusetts received a waiver in 2013 to allow a gradual transition to full compliance with the Affordable Care Act.

The waiver allowed small group insurers to continue to use two-thirds of the state rating factors in effect in July 2013 through January 1, 2017, after which rating factors would be reduced to one-third until Dec. 31, 2017 and phased out entirely on January 1, 2018.

Under this agreement, brokered by officials from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, the Health Insurance Connector Authority, and the Division of Insurance, Massachusetts small group insurers can continue to use one-third of the original magnitude of the state rating factors in effect in July 2013 through Dec. 31, 2019.

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