By Micah Weinberg, PhD
CEO, Healthy Systems Project
Senior Fellow, Bay Area Council Economic Institute
The famous line that “Winter is Coming” from the popular HBO series Game of Thrones, might as well be “Fall is Coming” for those who work with small group health benefits in California. Though there has been a lot of politicking and policy activity in the small employer world over the course of the past couple of years, most – about 70% – of businesses have kept the coverage that they had as they were allowed to do under state and federal law. And most of that coverage was not compliant with all of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
What this means is that in the Fall of 2015, the majority of small groups will be looking to move into ACA compliant products so it’s going to be a feeding frenzy the likes of which the state has never seen.
I serve as a member of the Advisory Group to the SHOP (small group) Exchange at Covered California. Though take-up of its products has been modest to date – fewer than 15,000 enrolled out of the 2-3 million who get their coverage through small businesses – this was to be expected. The SHOP Exchange sells only ACA-compliant products and these products by and large aren’t selling … yet.
So Fall is coming. Will you be prepared? Will you be able to get real time quotes for coverage? Will you be able to easily show your clients what the advantages are for sticking with group coverage and what some of the scenarios might be if you they choose to move some or all employees into individual coverage? Do you have the tools that you need to survive?