Feds to allow an extra year for popular Obamacare exception for small businesses | Local Business

A popular Affordable Care Act exception for small business set to expire at the end of 2017 can be extended for another year, federal administrators said today.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services said in a letter that states can choose to let the transitional program allowing health insurers to keep renewing individual and small-group plans that don’t meet the law’s requirements run through the plan years beginning on or before Oct. 1, 2018, and ending Dec. 31, 2018. 

Those plans are described as “grandmothered” because of their similarity to the “grandfathered” plans that the law explicitly allows to continue as long as they do not change substantively.

The difference is that grandfathered plans needed to be in place before the law went into effect on March 24, 2010, whereas grandmothered plans can have been started any time as long as they are currently being offered at the member companies.

This marks the third time states have been given the option to allow these plans to continue; they were originally supposed to expire Oct. 1, 2014. 

Pennsylvania has taken both previous opportunities to extend the program. Insurers are not required to continue offering the plans but have generally done so here. 

As of last spring, a substantial number of grandmothered plans were in effect, with Highmark reporting that…

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