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President Obama signed into law an ABC-supported, bipartisan change to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) the evening of Oct. 7.

The bill signed into law, the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act (H.R. 1624/ S. 1099), will remove the ACA requirement that mandates states to expand the small group definition. As a member of the 50-100 Coalition, ABC urged Congress to pass the PACE Act in letters to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate as well as to individual members of Congress.

The PACE Act gives states the flexibility to keep the current definition of the small group market of up to 50 employees or increase it to 100 if they choose. Currently, employers with up to 50 employees participate in this small group market. However, without the PACE Act, the ACA would have forced employers with up to 100 employees into the small group market beginning in 2016.

“The signing of the PACE Act into law is a big win for smaller ABC members as the expansion of the small group definition would have been among the most onerous aspects of the ACA for smaller contractors,” said Sam Melamed CEO of ABC’s Insurance Trust. “Construction firms are still likely to see their rates increase due to a broken healthcare system and runaway medical inflation, however, those with between 51 and 100 employees will be saved from a much sharper rate increase beginning in 2016 by not being forced into the ACA’s small group market.”

If the ACA mandate had gone into effect in January 2016, states would be required to include employers with between 51 and 100 employees in the small group market. Construction firms within that range could have seen their costs expand an extra 30-40 percent on top of any additional rate increases beginning in 2016.

For more information about the ACA and its impact on employers, visit ABC’s Employer Health Care Toolkit.

To view ABC’s Oct. 8 webinar on the Affordable Care Act’s new reporting requirements for 2015, click here