WA Small Business Health Insurance Plans
Washington 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 Washington.
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 Washington State government.
If you own and operate a WA 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 Washington small business health insurance plans available.
Learn how to get Washington small business health insurance plans for 1 to 50 employees. The best small business health insurance providers in WA offer affordable rates, flexible coverage options and access to a large network of medical providers.
Below are some answers to commonly asked WA small business health insurance plan questions:
- How Much Does Washington Small Business Health Insurance Cost?
- What Are The Small Business Health Insurance Regulations In Washington?
- Does Washington Participate In The Affordable Care Act?
- What Are The Affordable Care Act Requirements For Washington Small Businesses?
- How Are WA Health Insurance Premiums Are Determined?
- What Types Of Health Insurance Plans Are Available For Washington Small Businesses?
How Much Does Washington Small Business Health Insurance Cost?
The average price of a standard Washington 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 Washington?
The health insurance regulations in Washington State are moderate compared to other states. If you're a small business owner Washington, it's important that you are familiar with these regulations so that you can make the right decisions for yourself and your employees.
As in all other states, companies that sell health insurance must offer small group plans to qualifying small businesses. Additionally, all policies must contain a guaranteed renewability provision. This clause grants policyholders the right to renew their existing health insurance policies, so long as the premiums have been paid and no fraud has been committed.
Another important provision that health insurance companies in Washington State can impose is the pre-existing exclusion clause. This clause states that the insurer does not have to pay for any medical care that the insured receives for a pre-existing condition during a specific period of time.
In Washington, this period of time is no longer than 9 months. A pre-existing condition is defined as any medical condition that has been diagnosed or treated 6 months prior to a policy's effective date.
If insured individuals are changing their health insurance policies and their new coverage features a pre-existing exclusion clause, their old Washington small business health insurance plans can be used to credit the pre-existing condition period that the new policy may feature, as long as the previous policy's premiums were paid and no fraud was committed.
According to Washington State Health Care Authority, the ACA became law in 2010 to increase the quality and affordability of health insurance. It has brought major improvements to our health care system, giving millions of Americans access to high-quality, low- or no-cost health care coverage.
In Washington, health care reform has allowed more than half a million adults who were previously uninsured to enroll in Apple Health (Medicaid). In addition, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange was created to offer affordable health and dental insurance coverage that meets ACA requirements. Tax credits or financial help is available to pay for copays and premiums.
Does Washington 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 WA:
- 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 Washington Small Businesses?
If you're a small business owner in Washington, 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 Washington small business health insurance plans, otherwise then can face fines of up to $2,000 per employee.
Washington 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 Washington
In addition to the essential standardized health benefits that are required under the Affordable Care Act, Washington small business health insurance plans must also include the following benefits that have been mandated by the state:
- Diabetes care management, including equipment, supplies, training, education, and medical nutrition
- Reconstructive surgery following mastectomy due to disease, illness, or injury
Standardized Washington Small Business Health Insurance Plans
In order to make it easier to compare costs and benefits, the Affordable Care Act has designated all qualifying Washington 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 Washington 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 WA 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 Arizona Small Businesses?
While there are several types of health insurance plans to choose from, the following plans are the most popular among AZ 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 Arizona 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.
Washington Small Business Health Insurance Plans - The Bottom Line
We strongly advise business owners to speak with a CPA and a WA health insurance broker before jumping in and getting any type of the Washington 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.
Washington State Economic Outlook & Business Insurance Requirements
For anyone who is thinking about starting up a business, it is important that they choose a location that suites the industry that they wish to work in. With that said, in order to determine whether or not a location is the right choice for your business, you should have an idea about the state's economic status. You should also have an understanding of the WA state regulations related to the types of commercial insurance that you are required to carry.
If you are thinking about starting up a business in the State of Washington, below, we offer some insight into the state's economic status. We also offer a glimpse at the WA insurance requirements that business owners must abide by.
State Of The Economy In Washington
Washington state may be famous for its gloomy weather, but when it comes to the economy, things here look bright. The economic outlook for Washington is healthy. It is expected that there will be more jobs added in the 2022 calendar year. There will be an increase in the productivity of labor. There will also be an increase in the state's unemployment rate during the year 2022, with a forecasted rate of 4.7 percent.
Washington is regarded as one of the top for businesses in the nation. In fact, it is listed at the 11th best state for business by Forbes. The industry that is expected to see the most growth are related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Among the top industries in this state include information technology. Education, healthcare, finance, and travel and tourism also contribute largely to the awesome economy of this state.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In WA
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner regulates the insurance industry in WA. Businesses are legally required to carry workers' compensation insurance. This type of coverage is required for any business that employs either hourly or salaried employees, and either part-time or full-time employees. You are also required to carry commercial auto insurance if you use a vehicle to conduct any type of business in this state. That means that if you are using a car to transport goods, make deliveries, or meet with clients, you must carry business auto insurance.
While commercial general liability insurance is not required in Washington, it is highly recommended. This type of insurance offers protection from lawsuits and other legal fees that may arise.
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Also find WA local small businesses by General Liability Class Code and learn about Washington small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including WA business insurance costs. Call us (206) 801-0021.
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