The federal government recently issued a 149-page rule that lists the essential health benefits that insurance plans will have to offer beginning in 2014, and many small business owners are concerned that this will raise insurance costs. Their main concerns are due to the added coverage for services that aren’t currently offered by most plans in the market, such as mental health and substance abuse coverage, which will most likely increase insurance premiums.
The rule also defines four tiers of coverage that will be offered to small businesses and individuals through the insurance exchanges. According to a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services news release, “Beginning in 2014, plans that cover essential health benefits must cover a certain percentage of costs, known as actuarial value or “metal levels.” These levels are 60 percent for a bronze plan, 70 percent for a silver plan, 80 percent for a gold plan, and 90 percent for a platinum plan”. All of these changes are a lot to digest for small businesses, and many have started the evaluation of the requirements.