WASHINGTON (Oct. 6, 2015) — The House and Senate have passed a bipartisan bill intended to ease small business burdens under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
H.R. 1624, the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act, was approved Oct. 1 by both houses of Congress and sent to President Barack Obama for his signature.
Currently under the ACA, employers with 51-100 employees are treated as large employers. This means they do not have to meet the requirements demanded of small employers in providing health insurance, such as covering essential health benefits.
As of Jan. 1, 2016, the ACA's definition of small employers will be revised to include employers with up to 100 employees. H.R. 1624, however, allows states to retain the old definition.
If employers with 51-100 employees were subject to the small group rules, their health insurance premiums would increase dramatically, according to a press release from the office of Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., the bill's chief sponsor.
“H.R. 1624 prevents these catastrophic scenarios,” the release said.
Among the many organizations hailing passage of the bill was the Tire Industry Association (TIA).
“We support this bill and others like it that aim at easing the burden on small businesses when it comes to health care,” said Roy Littlefield IV, TIA government affairs manager.