MIA Health Insurance Forum Update from One Small Business Owner

Date: August 19, 2015

In light of a slew of recent changes to health insurance in Maryland, including the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and changes to medical stop-loss insurance, the Maryland Insurance Administration hosted a series of health insurance forums around the state in June and July.

The meetings, which were held in a town hall format, were an opportunity for individuals, business owners and insurance industry professionals to ask questions and voice opinions about all the changes to the health insurance market.

Melissa Noel, co-owner of Noel’s Fire Protections in Hagerstown, Maryland, attended one of these meetings on July 28 to share her experience.

“The cost of my traditional group insurance through BlueCross BlueShield CareFirst went up $50,000 in 2014 for a group of only 17,” she says. “We then went back to our insurance agent, and he suggested a partially self-funded plan. The plan premiums were reasonable, and the stop-loss insurance cap was $10,000. Since that time, initiated by CareFirst, legislation has been introduced to increase the cap to $40,000 and passed at a compromise of $22,500.”

Noel adds that Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer Jr. noted that her insurance would be grandfathered in, which is correct, but doesn’t do anything to address the rising cost of insuring her company’s group each year.

“It was nice that the MIA wanted to hear about the issues, but in the end, I left feeling like my voice was heard, but nothing will change,” she says. “It’s becoming more and more difficult to provide employees with insurance. The government, state and federal, wants to implement programs, but neither side wants to understand what it takes a small business to implement those regulations and the impact it has on the bottom line.”

Related Content: Small Business News | Economy | Maryland

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