Small-business hike put at 5.6%

Covered California’s small-business operation seems to be riding out the health-care storm, announcing premium increases of only 5.6 percent for the upcoming year.

small business owner image from Covered California plansThat’s down slightly from the 5.9 percent hike of 2017. Individual Obamacare premiums in California are expected to rise 12.5 percent for 2018.

About 36,000 state residents get their health insurance via the small-business operation, which covers employees of companies with 100 or fewer staffers.

The business marketplace does not rely on federal funding, although businesses with 25 or fewer employees may qualify for U.S. tax credits.

“The rates announced (Sept. 8) show how marketplaces can work to provide consumers with value and choice,” Covered California chief Peter Lee said.

“This is what stability can look like,” Lee added.

Covered California for Small Business will offer five plans in 2018, from Blue Shield of California, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, Sharp Health Plan and Chinese Community Health Plan (San Francisco). Western Health Advantage has pulled out of the exchange.

Covered California hailed the small-business unit’s growth of approximately 7,600 individuals for a 27 percent gain in membership over last year. “This makes CCSB one of the largest small-business health options programs in the nation.”

> View the small-business health-care page.

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