Despite Disappointment of Final SHOP Employee Choice Rule, Small Businesses Looking Forward to Exchanges Coming Online Soon
Statement by John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority, on the rules finalized today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
The news today that small business health insurance exchanges are officially moving forward this fall is welcome and needed for the small business community, which has been struggling with escalating costs for decades. We are disappointed that one of the rules finalized today delays for one year an important feature of these marketplaces in some states, but there is still much for America̢???s entrepreneurs to look forward to.
There̢???s been tremendous confusion around the rule finalized today delaying employee choice and premium aggregation. Delaying these intertwined features, which would have made the exchanges even more attractive, does not spell disaster. Small business healthcare exchanges will still open in January. Come the New Year, small employers will be able to pool their buying power in these competitive marketplaces, giving them the kind of clout large businesses currently enjoy. They̢???ll have many more choices of plans than they currently do and will be able to compare plans̢??? features through a transparent online system. Plus, many businesses will have access to expanded employer tax credits.
It̢???s important to note that the 17 states implementing their own exchanges can still extend employee choice and premium aggregation to their customers starting in 2014. It is only the exchanges operated by the federal government in states choosing not to set up their own exchanges that will have to wait a year for this feature. Nearly 40 percent of small businesses in this country do business in the 17 states implementing their own exchanges. For example, California and Colorado have already announced they̢???ll be including employee choice and premium aggregation in their exchanges on January 1, 2014.
The new healthcare insurance marketplaces are critical for reining in small businesses̢??? health insurance costs̢??a boon to owners who have struggled to purchase affordable insurance for decades. Small Business Majority and the millions of small business owners whose interests we represent are looking forward to them.
<p><strong>About Small Business Majority</strong><br />
Small Business Majority is a national small business advocacy organization, founded and run by small business owners to focus on solving the biggest problems facing America's 28 million small businesses today. Since 2005, we have actively engaged small business owners and policymakers in support of public policy solutions, and have delivered information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth and drive a strong, sustainable economy. We are a team of more than 30 working from our 11 offices in Washington, D.C. and 9 states, with a network of more than 45,000 small business owners and more than 2,000 business organizations, along with a formal strategic partnership program of more than 125 business organizations, enabling us to reach more than 500,000 entrepreneurs. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about issues including taxes, healthcare, access to capital, entrepreneurship, workforce development, clean energy and immigration. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on <a href="https://twitter.com/SBM_Media" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessMajority" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://instagram.com/smlbizmajority/" target="_blank">Instagram</a>.</p>