New Bill Could Boost Enrollment on Public Exchanges, Industry Observers Tell AIS

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Atlantic Information Services’ Inside Health Insurance Exchanges reports on new legislation that would allow small employers to create tax-free health reimbursement arrangements for employees, in its July issue.

A bill which passed a House committee vote last month could have a positive impact on enrollment in public health insurance exchanges, Atlantic Information Services, Inc.’s Inside Health Insurance Exchanges (HEX) reports in its July issue. The Small Business Health Care Relief Act of 2016 would allow small employers to create tax-free health reimbursement arrangements for employees. Under current regulations, small employers who don’t offer group coverage but reimburse employees for insurance premiums face an excise tax of $100 per day per employee, HEX reports.

The bill addresses a need small employers have, employee benefits attorney and director at PwC Chantel Sheaks tells HEX.

“There are a lot of small employers that can’t sustain a group health plan. They want to help their employees, but there is too much of an administrative burden involved in offering group health coverage,” she says. “This bill has the potential of really expanding the marketplaces and decreasing the number of [small-group] plans. I could see it potentially expanding this beyond small employers.”

The legislation also has the potential to improve the risk pool, John Hickman, an employee benefits attorney with Alston & Bird, tells HEX: “The influx of additional good-risk coverage into the individual market from this bill should help shore up some of the adverse selection issues that are being experienced in the current marketplace.”

However, Chris Condeluci, a principal at CC Law & Policy in Washington, D.C., notes the bill could possibly not become law, and if it does, it won’t go into effect until 2018. If the bill is seen as counter to the Obama administration, Sheaks observes, it could face opposition from Democrats.

Visit to read the article in its entirety, which also includes comments from one of the bill’s sponsors, Mike Thompson (D-Calif.).

About Inside Health Insurance Exchanges
Inside Health Insurance Exchanges provides hard-hitting news and strategies on public and private health insurance exchanges, written for business leaders with health plans, pharma companies, hospitals and health systems, brokers and agents, and exchange managers and vendors. The newsletter delivers reliable intelligence on this critical cornerstone of health reform — the players and their partners, product designs and enrollment results, employer perspectives and much more. Visit for more information.

About AIS
Atlantic Information Services, Inc. (AIS) is a publishing and information company that has been serving the health care industry for nearly 30 years. It develops highly targeted news, data and strategic information for managers in hospitals and health systems, health insurance companies, medical group practices, purchasers of health insurance, pharmaceutical companies and other health care organizations. AIS products include print and electronic newsletters, databases, websites, looseleafs, strategic reports, directories, webinars, virtual conferences and training programs. Learn more at

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