PACE Act Passage Eases Home Health Cost Concerns

Smaller home health companies are one step away from avoiding an 18% increase in health insurance premiums.

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act, or H.R. 1624, on Sept. 28. The U.S. Senate passed the bill on Oct 1.

The bipartisan legislation, which upholds the existing definition of the small group market under the Affordable Care Act, was introduced in the House by Reps. Tony Cárdenas, (D-Calif.), Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.). Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) introduced the Senate version of the bill, designated S.1099.

The legislation addresses worries that expanding the small group market to employers with 51-100 employees would lead to premium increases for mid-size employers. The expansion is currently scheduled to take place on Jan. 1, 2016.

The PACE Act would uphold the existing definition of the small group market, which only applies to employers who have 50 or fewer employees.

The PACE Act “will avoid an unnecessary 18% increase in health insurance premiums and provide much-needed relief to small businesses,” Council for Affordable Health Care Coverage (CAHC) President Joel White said in a prepared statement.

In the same statement, White, on behalf of the CAHC, commended Congress for passing the PACE Act.

The bill is headed to the Oval Office, where President Barack Obama will decide whether to sign it into law.

A spokeswoman from the White House confirmed that President Barack Obama would sign the bill, The New York Times reported.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson