Small businesses are those with no more than 100 employees. Health care
reform is expected to lower costs for small businesses in Kentucky,
allowing them to attract and retain good employees with comprehensive
group health insurance plans. Kentucky is one of the states that have
gone ahead with establishing a Health Benefit Exchange. There is a lot
of debate on whether the Affordable Care Act has lowered the costs of
Kentucky group health insurance for small employers.
The Kentucky health exchange which was established in July, 2012, is
expected to create a virtual marketplace for small businesses and
individuals to compare coverage, provider networks and costs when
shopping for insurance plans. Carrie Banahan, director of the exchange
office says that Kentucky will receive about $60 million in grants to
develop and implement Medicaid and exchange systems which will be
supported by federal funds through 2014. The KY health insurance
exchange is expected to be self-sustaining.
Health care reform makes small employers eligible for a health care tax
credit. Starting in 2014, the small-business tax credit will go up to
50% for qualifying small businesses. The tax credit is expected to help
businesses afford the cost of covering their employees’ health
insurance. Small business owners can choose from affordable private
Kentucky health plans available through the state health exchange. To
qualify for the tax credit, small businesses must satisfy the following
• The employer should have fewer than 25 full-time employees or its equivalent (for instance, less than 50 half-time employees)
• The employer should provide at least half of the cost of health care coverage for some of its workers based on the single rate
• The average annual wages that the employer pays is below $50,000.
The exchange is therefore expected to help small businesses save money, allowing them to hire and retain good workers.
Small businesses with 50 or more employees are required to offer health
insurance to their full-time employees. Plans available through the
Kentucky health insurance exchange will include categories such as
Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The Bronze level represents the
minimum coverage requirement, with the Kentucky health insurance
plan covering at least 60 percent of the cost of each health service or
treatment. Silver, Gold, and Platinum represent higher levels of
coverage. However, questions still remain as to the program’s management
costs, which critics say, will be very high.
Kentucky group insurance plans are now available in the open market. A
licensed and experienced health insurance broker can help you purchase
group coverage from leading KY health insurance
companies such as Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, Aetna and UnitedHealthOne.