The D.C. Council will be making its decision about small business plans as early as next week.
It is now believed that the decision regarding whether or not small business owners will be required to buy the health insurance for their employees through an exchange run by Washington D.C. will be made as soon as next week.
This decision will help to determine how D.C. will be complying with the federal healthcare reforms.
Council member Yvette M. Alexander (D – Ward 7) has explained that it is her intention to bring in emergency legislation that will be addressed at a meeting on May 22 in order to authorize central policy aspects of the health insurance exchange for Washington D.C. which is set to begin its open enrollment on October 1.
Washington D.C. has been aggressive in the development and testing of its health insurance exchange.
This is the case, despite the fact that it is a small city and it already enjoys a rate of health insurance coverage that is higher than the national average. These facts may make it seem as though this would make it easier to implement the policy marketplace, but they have officials concerned that it could actually fail unless the D.C. lawmakers require that businesses with fewer than 50 employees, as well as individuals, be required to use the exchange.
A hearing was held on Monday, at which there were many witnesses that debated whether a small business health insurance market that was “unified” or “closed” would indeed lead to the success of the exchange. A number of representatives from insurance groups and businesses from other industries asked the council to provide an extended transition period from an open market to a closed exchange from its current intended one year to a length that is as long as three years.
Many also requested that an independent study be required by the council in order to look into the health insurance market of the District under the new marketplace before individuals and small businesses are actually required to use it. The hope is that it will provide a much clearer idea of how it will work before people are forced to shop there.