Hoeven Works to Protect Small Business Employees From Healthcare Premium Increases

Senator Backs Legislation to Maintain Current Small Group Markets

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today cosponsored bipartisan legislation to protect small businesses from potential health care premium increases under the Affordable Care Act. The Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act allows states to maintain the current definition of a small group market as 1-50 employees to prevent premium increases and disruptions for small and mid-size businesses. Hoeven joins prime sponsor Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina on the legislation.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we need to ensure that they have the certainty they need to succeed,” said Hoeven. “Under Obamacare, we’ve experienced significant premium increases. This legislation will help to prevent additional health care cost increases for small businesses, their employees and their families.” 

Currently, almost all states define their small group market to include employers with 1-50 employees. Under the health care law, the definition of small business will expand to include employers with up to 100 employees starting January 1, 2016. Expanding the small group definition up to 100 could increase premiums for the vast majority of small employers and also prevent mid-size employers from keeping their current plans. According to Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, the expansion of small group from 50 to 100 will cause both rate and benefit disruption for about 150 North Dakota groups which cover almost 20,000 North Dakotans.

The bipartisan legislation is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation, National Federation of Independent Business and other groups representing small business.