A House Democrat has proposed two alternatives to H.R. 1624, a bill that would let each state decide whether to set the maximum size of a small group at 50 employees or 100 employees.
Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., says he would like to see Congress adopt a bill postponing the effective date of the small-group definition change for a few years, or letting states postpone the effective date.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) is on track to set the cut-off at 100 employees in all states on Jan. 1.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) argue that changing the definition could destabilize the small-group markets in some states, by subjecting midsize groups in those states to the PPACA benefits, rate-setting and underwriting rules that now apply to small employers’ group health coverage.
The NAIC, AHIP and NAHU are supporting H.R. 1624, the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act bill. The bill would make a permanent change in the small-group definition rules and give each state the right to decide whether to set its cut-off at 50 employees or 100 employees.
Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., the lawmaker who introduced the bill, has lined up 235 sponsors, including 48 Democrats.
Members of the House considered the bill Monday, under a procedure that lets House members consider bills with broad support through a streamlined process. Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., helped present the bill.