ACA Delay Extended for Small Businesses to Keep Existing Health Coverage
The federal government has extended a transitional policy announced last November, which allows some small businesses to renew group coverage that does not comply with certain rules under Health Care Reform, for an additional two years--to policy years beginning on or before October 1, 2016. Not all states and insurance companies will permit coverage to renew.
At the option of the states, health insurance companies that have issued or will issue a policy under the original transitional relief anytime in 2014 may (but are not required to) renew such policies at any time through October 1, 2016. Businesses affected by the transitional policy may choose to re-enroll in current coverage through October 1, 2016.
Policies subject to the transitional relief will not be considered to be out of compliance with some of the law's key provisions that were originally scheduled to take effect in 2014, including:
- The requirement to cover a core package of items and services known as essential health benefits and limit annual cost-sharing under the plan;
- The requirement that any variations in premiums be limited with regard to a particular plan or coverage to age and tobacco use, family size, and geography;
- The requirements regarding guaranteed availability and renewability of coverage for employers; and
- The requirements relating to coverage for individuals participating in approved clinical trials.
States may choose to adopt both the original transitional policy as well as the extended transitional policy, or adopt one but not the other, in accordance with the agency guidance. Health insurers that renew coverage under the extended policy are required to provide standard notices to affected businesses for each policy year.
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