Senate Bill Would Allow States Flexibility in Determining Size of Employers in Small Group Market

U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today announced their co-sponsorship of legislation to protect employees of small and medium-sized businesses from insurance premium increases caused by a mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

The Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act (S.1099), introduced by Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), would allow states to maintain their small group insurance market definition at 50 employees, instead of the 100-employee threshold required by Obamacare.

“From increased premiums to lost plans, the negative effects of the Affordable Care Act have limited health care options for many Mississippians,” said Cochran. “By making a simple change to an overly complex law, this legislation would prevent another burdensome Obamacare regulation from further increasing health care costs for small businesses and their employees.”

“This is another example of the Administration’s onerous power grabs and further evidence of Obamacare’s unrealistic demands,” Wicker said. “The decision to resize or redefine health insurance market groups should remain in the jurisdiction of the states. Senator Scott’s bill would help Mississippi’s small businesses avoid unnecessary premium increases under these new regulations.”

Traditionally, states have determined the size of their small group health insurance market, with nearly all states including employers with up to 50 employees. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires states to expand this market to include employers with up to 100 employees. The new regulation is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

S.1099 would negate the Obamacare mandate on states, therefore preventing the premium increases for small and mid-size employers and allow employees of mid-size companies to keep the plans they have.

In addition to Senators Cochran and Wicker, a bipartisan group of 40 Senators has signed on to cosponsor the Scott legislation. The measure has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Senators Cochran and Wicker Press Release