Choice Stories

September 20, 2017

Small Businesses Can Get Health Insurance With Lower Participation

One of the lesser-known provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is an Annual Special Open Enrollment Window that gives you and your business the opportunity to get health coverage for your employees, even if you were turned down in the past.

 

An Amazing Opportunity

You can enroll in CaliforniaChoice with fewer requirements from 11/15/17 to 12/15/17. You do not have to meet the standard 70% employee participation requirement, nor do you have to contribute the usual 50% of premium for your employees’ health coverage.

This special enrollment period is an excellent way for your employees to get the coverage they want – and need – without increasing the costs to your business.

 

No Minimum Enrollment, No Minimum Premium Contribution

If you apply during the 11/15/2017 to 12/15/2017 enrollment Window, your employees’ coverage will begin on January 1, 2018.

There’s no minimum enrollment for your group and there’s no minimum contribution required from you for your employees’ premium. If you don’t want to contribute, then you will collect the full premium from each of your participating employees each month and pass it along to CaliforniaChoice.

If you want to contribute, you are able to pay any amount toward their coverage premium; the usual 50% employer contribution does not apply. It’s your choice; you can contribute 5%, 10%, 25%, or more – or you can make zero contribution to your employees’ premium.

There’s no minimum group participation either. (The usual requirement that 70% of your employees enroll does not apply.) So, if you have 10 employees and just two want to enroll, that’s fine. All we ask for is a minimum of one enrolled employee and that CaliforniaChoice be the only health plan offered.

 

Great Options for Employees

CaliforniaChoice offers your employees a variety of plans from seven different health insurance carriers, so each one is sure to find coverage to match his or her individual or family health care needs. They can select from HMOs, PPOs, HSAs, and other plans from Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, Sharp Health Plan, Sutter Health Plus, UnitedHealthcare, and Western Health Advantage.

 

Qualification

It doesn’t matter how many employees you have, or how many choose to sign up for coverage through CaliforniaChoice during this special enrollment window. This is your once-a-year opportunity to offer health coverage to your employees without worrying about participation guidelines or premium contribution requirements.

Keep in mind, though, if you employ 50 or more full-time and/or full-time equivalent employees, your business is considered an Applicable Large Employer and you required to offer “affordable” health coverage to full-time employees. (Click here for guidance from the Society for Human Resource Management.) As such, your business is likely not eligible for the ACA Special Open Enrollment Window.

 

Continuation of Coverage

If you sign up during this ACA Special Open Enrollment Window, your employees’ coverage will begin January 1 and continue for up to 12 months as long as the premiums are paid. At the end of that time, if you want to keep your CaliforniaChoice coverage, you will need to meet the usual participation and premium contribution requirements at renewal.

 

This is a limited opportunity for businesses like yours to get coverage without meeting the usual participation or premium contribution requirements. If you’re interested, act now and contact your broker so you can take advantage of the ACA Special Open Enrollment Window, November 15-December 15. If you don’t already have a broker, we help you find a CaliforniaChoice broker to speak with about health coverage for your employees.