Private Healthcare Exchange Launches for Small Businesses
By: Thomas M. Brophy, Director of Research, ABI Multifamily
Last week Thursday, October 23rd, Sam’s Club announced a suite of new services aimed at small business owners; among the new services offered was the Aetna Marketplace for Sam’s or private healthcare exchange for small businesses. The exchange, which is currently available to members in 18 states, allows employers to choose from either a defined contribution plan or one that offers workers a flat, pre-tax contribution amount to be applied to their worker’s plan of choice.
Beginning this year, the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate begins for businesses with 100 or more full-time workers, and for those businesses with 50 or more the mandate begins in 2016. Business owners who fail to comply with ACA’s mandate are subject to a $2,000 per worker a year fine by the IRS, tasked with ensuring ACA compliance. Sam’s, whose customer’s business memberships are primarily comprised of businesses with five (5) or fewer employees, believes they can provide a more robust healthcare exchange than individual insurance brokers and the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchanges.
It should be noted that Sam’s Club is not the only large retailer entering the private healthcare exchange market. Earlier this year, Costco Wholesale, launched its own private insurance exchange for individuals. In addition, Wal-Mart Stores, parent company of Sam’s Club, announced its partnership with DirectHealth.com to help their customers navigate insurance choices.