Under health reform, if a company purchased a health plan on or before March 23, 2010, their health carrier may give them the option to “grandfather" their plan which would exempt the plan from some health reform mandates.
Blue Shield offered grandfathered plan status to qualified small business customers renewing on or after March 23rd 2010. However, beginning January 1, 2012 Blue Shield will no longer offer grandfathered status on small group plans.
Why is this change being made?
The grandfathering provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was meant to allow small groups with coverage on or before March 23, 2010, to keep that coverage without having to adopt all of health reform’s new provisions.
When Blue Shield began to implement ACA, we chose to offer grandfathered plan status to our small group plans. However, the majority of our small business customers choose not to retain their plans’ grandfathered status in favor of switching to a plan that would better meets their current needs.
We believe this is occurring because the requirements to retain a plan’s grandfathered status make it difficult for employers to adjust their contribution levels or make other desired plan changes as they may want.
Instead of continuing to work through the administrative complexities of offering grandfathered plans to our small business customers, we believe there are greater advantages in bringing new, streamlined small group plans to the market to meet the needs of small businesses.
How will Small Group plans be affected?
Blue Shield small group customers will only renew into, or purchase, non-grandfathered plans beginning on January 2012.
For more information about your current plan as well as the new small group plans that Blue Shield is bringing to market, please contact your broker or your Blue Shield Small Group Account Manager.
For general questions about grandfathered health plans, please see our Frequently Asked Questions