It would be difficult to overstate the amount of upheaval that the Affordable Care Act has caused in the Columbia, SC health insurance industry. Due to the fact that nearly everyone is covered under some type of health insurance plan, this upheaval inevitably has a powerful effect on the entire population as well. Each new year since the passing of the ACA in 2010 seems to bring its own new set of issues, forcing insurers, employees, and their employees to scramble to make the best of the new landscape. Hopefully, this brief overview of the Columbia, SC benefits situation in 2016 will give you a little orientation and advice as you head into the new year.


Major ACA Developments

Perhaps the most-talked-about change to the Columbia, SC health insurance situation is the large increase in the tax penalty imposed on people who do not get covered by health insurance. This increase has motivated many SC residents to find coverage instead of simply going uninsured and paying the tax penalty as they did in previous years.
The “employer mandate” is another huge topic within the ACA, and its impact on businesses is so great that its implementation was delayed by a year. Originally scheduled to take effect in 2014, officials later decided to implement it gradually over 2015 and 2016. The major change for 2016 is the inclusion of businesses with 50-99 employees in the mandate (businesses with 100 or more employees were included starting in 2015).


Consumers’ Choice and Assurant Health

Consumers’ Choice and Assurant Health, two of the major players in the Columbia, SC health insurance market since the ACA rollout began, are discontinuing all health coverage in 2016. This affects a very large number of SC residents—because these two providers were specifically intended to provide low-cost insurance and stimulate competition among the other insurance companies, their premiums were often the most attractive. Many policy holders now face a dramatic increase in their monthly premiums when signing up with a new provider.


Blue Choice

Blue Choice is one of the other insurance groups providing health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and with the disappearance of Consumers’ Choice and Assurant Health, it is even more important. Blue Choice offers great variety in specific health plans, making it easy for employees to choose the plans that best fit their families’ needs. Many Columbia, SC benefits managers, though, find it confusing at best to understand the details of the different policies available and how they compare to one another.
Currently, Complete Employee Services is the only PEO in South Carolina that offers the Blue Choice health insurance plans to clients. If you want to ensure that your workers have great options to choose from during open enrollment, Blue Choice is the clear leader.


Complete Employee Services and Health Insurance

The experience of the representatives at Complete Employee Services is exactly what a confused, concerned HR manager at a small business needs. With the right guidance, knowledge, and resources, even a company with only 50 employees really can offer a selection of desirable, affordable health insurance policies to workers. When our company handles your human resources department, we clearly explain the options to your employees, help them select a plan, and guide them through the process individually. Once they are covered, we continue to provide support by handling claims, answering questions, and working to resolve any disagreements that may arise over premium payments, deductibles, copays, and other issues.


Staying on Top of ACA Changes

2016 will certainly not be the last year that we see major changes in Columbia, SC health insurance. The years-long implementation of the ACA has been rocky at times, and much uncertainty remains about when things will become stable again for employees and employers alike. The key to your company making the best financial decisions about health insurance despite shifting requirements is having industry experts guiding you through the changes. Please get in touch with us if you feel that your business could be more effective in offering desirable Columbia, SC benefits, attracting great employees with your health insurance options, and taking care of claims and questions efficiently without allowing them to slow down your company’s growth.