Associated Industries of Massachusetts and 24 other Massachusetts business organizations joined together today to ask the commonwealth’s Congressional delegation to support waiving provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that could raise premiums for some small Bay State employers by more than 50 percent.
The groups, including 17 chambers of commerce and several statewide organizations representing thousands of employers, support a waiver from rating-factor limitations imposed by federal health reform for insurance offered to employers with 50 or fewer workers.
The ACA limits to four the rating factors used to calculate small group health insurance premiums, while current Massachusetts law allows for additional consideration of factors such as industry, participation rate, group size, intermediary discount and group purchasing cooperatives.
“Without this waiver, many small employers in this state will see their health insurance premiums increase by as much as 57 percent. These steep increases are simply unaffordable for small employers and risk our impressive 97 percent coverage rate in the event that employers discontinue providing health insurance to their employees,” the organizations maintain in their letter, delivered this afternoon to the Bay State delegation.
Governor Deval Patrick requested a rating-factor waiver on September 3, noting that “a waiver of rating factor requirements will avoid increases in health insurance premiums for a large segment of our small-employer population and their employees.” Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius denied the request on September 26.
The business groups argue that the federal government has already granted more than 1,200 ACA waivers and made numerous administrative modifications to the law. The most prominent of those modifications took place last week when President Barack Obama allowed individuals whose insurance had been cancelled to retain their policies for a year.