Associations, Businesses Concerned Over DC Health Insurance Exchange
Requiring small employers to buy coverage through city exchange could raise prices, coalition says
A coalition of DC-based small businesses, associations, insurance companies, and brokers delivered a sign-on letter last week expressing concern about the District of Columbia’s plan to implement a health insurance exchange for individuals and employers by 2014, in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.
The DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority is considering a proposal that would require all DC businesses with fewer than 100 employees to purchase coverage through the city’s insurance exchange. The plan would also combine the individual and small-employer markets within the DC exchange, which the coalition says could drive up rates for small-employer health plans. The board needs to establish market structure by October to have an exchange operational in 2013 and open for business by 2014.
“By dismantling and recasting the separate health insurance marketplaces that serve small-employer groups and individuals in the District, DC policymakers would take away the option of [employers and individuals] keeping the health plan that they now have,” the coalition letter reads. “Rather, to continue to offer health benefits to employees after 2013, small employers like us would have no choice but to go to an undefined, untested, more expensive entity to obtain coverage.”
The coalition urged the exchange board to keep the existing commercial marketplace intact and allow individuals and small employers the choice of keeping their existing plans or going through the exchange.