VT Small Business Health Insurance Plans
Vermont Small Business Health Insurance Plans 2022. The following is an overview of the rules that govern small group health insurance plans in the State of Vermont.
The information that is discussed below includes the laws that have been mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare"), as well as the laws that are required by Vermont State government.
If you own and operate a VT small business and you already offer small group health insurance or you're thinking about offering small group health insurance - this guide can help you better understand the regulations, requirements and available Vermont small business health insurance plans available.
Learn how to get Vermont small business health insurance plans for 1 to 50 employees. The best small business health insurance providers in VT offer affordable rates, flexible coverage options and access to a large network of medical providers.
Below are some answers to commonly asked VT small business health insurance plan questions:
- How Much Does Vermont Small Business Health Insurance Cost?
- What Are The Small Business Health Insurance Regulations In Vermont?
- Does Vermont Participate In The Affordable Care Act?
- What Are The Affordable Care Act Requirements For Vermont Small Businesses?
- How Are VT Health Insurance Premiums Are Determined?
- What Types Of Health Insurance Plans Are Available For Vermont Small Businesses?
How Much Does Vermont Small Business Health Insurance Cost?
The average price of a standard Vermont small business health insurance policy ranges from around $583 to over $1706 per employee per month based on; single or family, location, coverages offered, deductibles and more.
What Are The Small Business Health Insurance Regulations In Vermont?
The State of Vermont imposes more health insurance regulations than most states. As such, if you're a Vermont small business owner, it is important that you are aware of these regulations so that you can make the right choices for yourself and your employees.
In Vermont, health insurance companies must sell small group policies to all qualifying small businesses that apply for coverage. Additionally, small businesses that employ more than 2 but less than 50 employees must also be offered the same Vermont small business health insurance plans that health insurance companies offer other small businesses.
In addition to the above, some of the most notable regulations that pertain to Vermont health insurance plans are those that impact the policies themselves. Firstly, all policies feature a guaranteed renewability provision, which states that as long as premiums have been paid and no fraud has been committed, health insurance companies in Vermont must offer continued coverage.
It is, however, legal for health insurance companies to exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions on new policies for a period of up to 12 months. In Vermont, the definition of a pre-existing condition is any medical condition that has been diagnosed or medically treated 12 months before a policy's effective date.
It' important to note, however, that when applying for a new policy, as long as you've maintained continuous coverage on your old policy, the coverage your old policy provided can be used to credit the pre-existing condition exclusion period for your new plan.
Lastly, health insurance companies can impose elimination riders on policies in Vermont. These riders make it lawful for a health insurance company to exclude coverage for specific health conditions.
According to Vermont Department of Human Resources, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes reporting requirements for employers and their group health plans. One of the provisions of ACA is the Employer Shared Responsibility (ESR) mandate.
To fulfill the reporting requirements connected to the ESR mandate, the State of Vermont provides Tax Form 1095-C to all employees who work full time (per ACA definition) for any one month in previous calendar year, and any part time employees who were enrolled in health benefits for all of the previous calendar year.
The Form 1095-C provides proof of insurance per IRS regulations.
Does Vermont Participate In The Affordable Care Act?
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "ObamaCare") was passed by the United States Congress and was signed into law by Obama. Following its passage, provisions of the law have continued to be phased in, and as of January 1, 2014, the majority of American citizens and legal residents of the United States are required, by law, to have qualifying health care coverage.
If they fail to have coverage, they are responsible for paying an annual tax penalty for each month they aren't insured, which is known as the "individual mandate".
The cost of the penalty for failure to have qualifying coverage is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, or 1% of your total taxable income; whichever amount is higher - as much as $285 per family. In 2017, the penalty increased, and has continued to increase thereafter.
Qualifying Exemptions For The Individual Mandate
Individuals who meet one of the following are exempt from the individual mandate and the associated tax penalties in VT:
- Illegal aliens
- Jailed individuals
- Religious objections
- The cost of health insurance coverage is higher than 8% of your household income
- Those who aren't covered for less than three months during the calendar year
- Those who have hardship waivers
- Your income level is blow the 100% poverty level
What Are The Affordable Care Act Requirements For Vermont Small Businesses?
If you're a small business owner in Vermont, you must provide your employees with insurance. This is a requirement that was put into place by the Affordable Care Act.
Referred to as the Employer Shared Responsibility provision, all employers must offer their employees at least one of the ACA-compliant Vermont small business health insurance plans, otherwise then can face fines of up to $2,000 per employee.
Vermont small business owners can purchase coverage for their employees through the state's Small Health Option Program (SHOP) exchange, or from a private insurance agent or broker.
Affordable Care Act Standardized Essential Health Benefits
As per the ACA, all qualifying health insurance plans must offer 10 standardized essential benefits.
Depending on the state, additional benefits may also be required. The 10 ACA standardized essential benefits are as follows:
- Ambulatory patient services (medical care that is offered without being admitted to a hospital)
- Emergency services
- Hospitalizations, such as overnight stays and surgical procedures
- Lab services
- Mental health and substance abuse disorder services, including behavioral health treatments, such as psychotherapy and counseling
- Pediatric health care services, including vision and oral care; however, adult vision and dental coverage aren't essential health benefits under ACA
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care, including before and after birth
- Prescription pharmaceuticals
- Preventative and wellness services, as well as management for chronic diseases
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, including services and devices for injuries, disabilities, and chronic health conditions
Additional Health Benefits Mandated In Vermont
In addition to the standardized essential health benefits that are required by the ACA, Vermont government requires that all health insurance plans offer benefits that exceed the requirements of the ACA. These additional mandated health benefits include the following:
- Clinical trials for cancer patients
- Craniofacial disorders
- Diabetes care management
- Durable medical equipment - prosthetic devices
- Orally administered anticancer prescription pharmaceutical drugs
Standardized Vermont Small Business Health Insurance Plans
In order to make it easier to compare costs and benefits, the Affordable Care Act has designated all qualifying Vermont small business health insurance plans to be one of four metal colors, including Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Each of these designations is based on the average amount of health care costs that the plan will cover, which is illustrates at percentages of how much the insurance company will cover for health care, as well as the amount the insured will have to pay out-of-pocket.
All insurance companies that are participating in the federal or state health care exchange program must offer at least the Silver and Gold Vermont small business health insurance plans.
All four of the metal plans have a shared maximum out-of-pocked amount that the insured can be charged during any calendar year. The following table illustrates this information:
|Metal Plan||Insurer Pays / Insured Pays|
|Bronze||60% / 40%|
|Silver||70% / 30%|
|Gold||80% / 20%|
|Platinum||90% / 10%|
As per the ACA, individuals cannot be denied coverage or charged higher premiums because of their past health history, or their gender.
Additionally, look-back and waiting periods cannot be imposed. Additionally, policies are effective when they are issued and all coverage is renewable if the individual chooses to renew the policy.
However, plans can be canceled if the individual fails to pay their premiums or commits fraud.
How Are VT Health Insurance Premiums Determined?
A premium is the amount the insured must pay out-of-pocket in order to maintain their health insurance policy. The premiums that are charged for any of the qualifying metal plans can be based on the following:
- Age of the individual
- Whether or not the individual uses tobacco
- Where the individual lives, based on a rating area
- The number of family members who will be enrolling
What Types Of Health Insurance Plans Are Available For Vermont Small Businesses?
While there are several types of health insurance plans to choose from, the following plans are the most popular among VT small business owners:
Health Maintenance Organization - Simply known as an "HMO", this type of plan offers a variety of health-related services via a network of health care providers and hospitals that exclusively contract with the HMO, or who agree to offer their services to members of the HMO. Employees who participate in this type of plan usually have to choose a primary care physician (PCP), and receive most of their care from this physician. If a specialist is needed, the PCP will recommend one that is affiliated with the HMO.
Preferred Provider Organization - More commonly referred to simply as "PPO", this type of health insurance plan is the most common among Vermont small business owners. The insurance company provides a preferred list of health care providers, and employees must receive their medical care from the doctors and hospitals on that list for their claims to be paid at the highest level possible - but they also have the flexibility to see any other provider anywhere in or out of state.
Point-of-Service Plan - Known as a (POS), this type of health insurance plan provides access to health care services at a lower overall cost, but with fewer choices. Members can access care from in-network or out-of-network providers and facilities, but coverage is better when you stay in-network. POS plans may vary, but generally, plans are considered a blend of HMO and PPO plans - offering more flexibility than HMOs, but less than PPOs.
Health Savings Account - A health savings account (HSA) is a special type of bank account that allows participants in the insurance plan to save money that can be used specifically for the medical care they require in the future. HSA-qualified health insurance plans are usually PPO plans that are specifically designed to be used with an HSA.
Indemnity Health Insurance - This type of health insurance plan allows members to control their own health care and to visit any doctor or hospital they choose. The insurance company would then pay a pre-determined percentage of the total charges for the services that were rendered. Employees may have to pay for some types of services up-front and then they can submit a request for reimbursement with the insurance company.
Vermont Small Business Health Insurance Plans - The Bottom Line
We strongly advise business owners to speak with a CPA and a VT health insurance broker before jumping in and getting any type of the Vermont small business health insurance plans available.
Make sure that you know exactly what each option can do for your company and the potential drawbacks associated with it.
Vermont Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
For business-minded individuals who are either thinking about launching their first organization or established entrepreneurs who would like to expand their operations, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration before proceeding. Of those factors, top on the list of importance is location.
The target market and demographics of a location must be favorable for the industry in order for a business to be successful. By analyzing the unemployment rate of a specific state and the key industries that are flourishing with that state, business owners can determine whether or not the will amass the success they are hoping to achieve.
In addition to understanding the economic data of a state, it's also important for proprietors to know what type of commercial insurance they are required to carry.
If you're considering Vermont as the headquarters of your operation for a branch of your already existing business, read on to for an overview of the economic data and commercial insurance requirements in the Green Mountain State.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Vermont
In December of 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate in Vermont was 2.3%; 1.2% lower than the national average of 3.5% during the same time period. While the state's unemployment rate did rise slightly – it was 2.1% in July of 2019, for example – these statistics sill indicate that Vermont has a healthy economy that is conducive for business owners and residents of the state.
The favorable tax climate, the healthy environment, and the overall quality of life in Vermont are just some of the reasons why the economy in this state is booming.
As in most states, densely populated urban areas offer the most promise for businesses. These regions offer a larger workforce and market than smaller suburban and rural areas, they're easier to access, and they are more closely connected with surrounding states and the region of New England, as a whole.
With that said, the top places to start a business in Vermont include:
Several industries are seeing significant growth in Vermont. At the time of writing, the following sectors were seeing the most growth in the state:
- Food and beverage
- Health care
- Hospitality and tourism
- Professional services
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Vermont
The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation regulates insurance in VT. Vermont mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Vermont requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Vermont also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
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Also find VT local small businesses by General Liability Class Code and learn about Vermont small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including VT business insurance costs. Call us (802) 909-0067.
Small Business Health Insurance Plans By State
You can find more state specific small business health insurance information including requirments and coverage by clicking on the state below:
- North Carolina
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia