- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a 25% increase in silver-level healthcare premiums for next year. HHS projected the increase in a new report, Health Plan Choice and Premiums in the 2017 Health Insurance Marketplace.
- “Silver” is the third level in a four-tiered health plan under the Affordable Care Act. Silver plan members qualify for tax credits and subsidies. Along with premium increases for 2017, the healthcare exchanges created under the ACA will drop from 47 to 30 next year.
- In a statement following HHS’s announcement, the National Association for the Self-Employed criticizes the Obama Administration for what it says is a failure to recognize that many small-business owners, entrepreneurs and other self-employed people make too much money to qualify for tax credits and subsidies. NASE also argues that the 25% silver premium increase, coupled with a weak economy and fewer plan choices, could cause financial losses for the self-employed.
ACA exchange losses have been well-documented. Small-business providers, including startup Oscar Health, pulled out of a few exchanges due to unprofitable markets.
Companies expect healthcare costs to rise each year, but big price jumps under the ACA bear watching. Healthcare that becomes significantly less affordable could force small businesses to start sponsoring cheaper plans with minimal coverage. Companies that offer generous healthcare benefits to attract and retain employees might have to find more cost-effective hiring tactics.