October 8, 2015
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Yesterday, President Obama signed the “Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (“PACE”) Act, overturning one aspect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that applied to small employer health plans.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the size of a small employer was to jump from 1-50 to 1-100 by Jan. 1, 2016. All of our health insurers priced and filed their plans in anticipation of this new change. I supported this move because I believed it would help create a more stable insurance market for our small employers. I even traveled to Washington, D.C. last month to testify against the PACE Act and in support of the changes we’ve already made here in Washington state.
Despite my opposition to this bill, I will support the President’s decision and implement the new change in Washington state as smoothly as possible.
We will communicate with health insurers and producers on what steps they’ll need to take to comply with the federal change. Since all rate filings were based on the small group expanding from its current size of 1-50 employees to 1-100 employees, we may consider allowing a one-time quarterly update of rates. However, any change must be justified and will be carefully reviewed.
Small businesses deserve a robust health insurance market with fair prices and we’re committed to building and maintaining a market that delivers on these promises.
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Release No. 15-43