New options for small business health plans

Three major changes in federal law are rocking the boat on small business health plans. This blog posts summarizes the three most significant changes this past year.


CHANGE #1: No more individual mandate penalty in most states.

WHAT IT MEANS: Without a steep tax penalty for not having a specific type of health insurance, some people are free to consider a wider range of options. Some of these options will save money and expand choices.

WHAT FREEDOM BENEFITS IS DOING: Our financial planning conversations with clients include a wider range of options.


CHANGE #2: Expansion of short term health insurance.

WHAT IT MEANS: This adds a simple, fast, cheap coverage option for healthy people who are in life transitions.

WHAT FREEDOM BENEFITS IS DOING: Building relationships with insurance companies that offer these short term medical insurance products, reviewing specific products, expanding online enrollment


CHANGE #3: Health Reimbursement Arrangements may pay for individual insurance.

WHAT IT MEANS: Small employers are no longer persuaded to offer a group health plan. The same advantages or more

WHAT FREEDOM BENEFITS IS DOING: Emphasizing the HRA’s ability to control health costs for the employer, the ability to increase choice and value to the employee and a new tax advantage. For 2020 employee benefit plans, we include an HRA option at no additional cost in all small business benefit plans and all small business clients where we handle payroll processing.

New cost saving options for some small business health plans.

Wide range of state responses to new health insurance options

Freedom Benefits completes its state-by-state analysis of non-ACA low cost health plan options. Summary results are now online.

Beginning with the executive order he signed on the first day he took office, president Trump and his administration have taken many actions to dramatically affected the health insurance and care options available to individual consumers.  The White House web site recently removed some of the press releases and links to many of the politically sensitive actions but nevertheless they remain a part of the legal and market structure. Endorsements of inexpensive alternative health plans rated by health and age of the applicant and short term health insurance remain promoted on Whitehouse.gov web site. Behind the scenes, health insurance companies rushed to create a wide range of new product offerings and get them approved for sale to the public. These plans offer choice but do not include the protections intended by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. That means that consumers may need more information and education about the range of new health plans on the market today. But that’s not the whole story.

Regulation of health plans rests primarily with state government, not federal government. Every state reacted differently to the federal government’s changes intended to loosen legal requirements and make health insurance options available to consumers. This means that it was important for firms like Freedom Benefits, that follows these legal changes for their impact on consumers, to expand our coverage  on current legal events in each state.

Each state has the ability to regulate or restrict health insurance plans issued within its boundaries. States do not have the authority to regulate or restrict health insurance issued in another state or nation that cover individuals who live in or visit their state. As a result, the medical insurance travel industry was born. People who do not qualify for coverage where the live can visit another state and purchase a short term medical insurance policy, for example, that covers them everywhere within the U.S., including their home state where the coverage cannot be purchased. It’s created an odd market scenario!

Freedom Benefits investigated the status of health insurance laws of each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The summarized results are included as a news item on “Status of alternative non-ACA health plans” available by clicking on the state page icons on the right sidebar of this page. We do not endorse any product or strategy but support every individual’s right to have access to information and the widest possible range of health insurance and treatment options.

 

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