Health insurance exchange for small businesses may be delayed in New Hampshire

New Hampshire Health Insurance

Insurance Commissioner calls for a delay small business insurance marketplace

New Hampshire Health InsuranceNew Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevingy has recommended that the state wait to implement a health insurance exchange for small businesses. Provisions of the Affordable Care Act called for the creation of insurance exchanges for consumers and exchanges for small businesses in order to expand the availability of insurance coverage. The federal government has, however, opted to delay the enactment of provisions that focus on insurance coverage and small business in order to allow these businesses time to prepare for the financial implications of these provisions.

Small businesses may not have to comply with federal provisions until 2016

The state’s small businesses have been able to purchase coverage through a marketplace designed by brokers and insurance companies and have been able to do so since October of last year. These companies are not forced to comply with certain provisions of the health care reform law, however, which means that they are not required to purchase coverage from online marketplaces until November of this year. The state’s small businesses may not have to comply with such provisions until 2016, however.

Commissioner is concerned about market stability and competition

Commissioner Sevingy has voiced his concerns regarding the state’s ability to maintain a stable and competitive group insurance market. Currently, the state’s group market is controlled by two insurance companies. The institution of a comprehensive insurance marketplace could encourage smaller insurers to begin participating in the group market, shifting risks away from large companies and creating a degree of instability in the market itself.

Delay may allow New Hampshire enough time to make sure its exchange is working properly

Sevingy’s call for a delay has been encouraged by the state’s insurance companies and brokers. Insurers suggest that they need more time to better understand the implications of a new marketplace and how that could impact their business. More importantly, a delay could allow the state to take steps to ensure that an exchange for small businesses actually works properly. These types of exchanges have fallen victim to technical and logistical problems in the past.

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