Earlier today, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1446 into law, which will provide transition relief to small employers who have not yet brought their group health plan into full compliance with the ACA. The law goes into effect immediately. Small group (<50 employees), non-grandfathered health plans which were in effect on December 31, 2013 and are still in effect as of the bill's signing, may be renewed and continue to be in force through December 2015, (although carriers maintain the option of providing these non-ACA compliant policies to their customers or not). The group of eligible small plans includes those that used the early renewal option offered last year to change to a December renewal. The elements of the ACA for which there will be relief include:

  • coverage for the 10 "essential health benefits" (EHBs), including pediatric dental;
  • pre-existing condition limitations for participants over the age of 18;
  • the restriction that rates be solely based on age, geographic area and family tier.
Of course, groups are not prevented from moving to a fully ACA compliant plan should they elect to do so. This change does not affect plans that are already in full ACA compliance or individual policies. BACKGROUND Federal guidelines made relief possible into 2017, but left it to individual states to decide whether and how long to implement the relief. Watch our blog for developments as to how this change will work in practical terms. For the full text of the bill click here.