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Over the past few years small employers (groups with less than 50 employees as of 2015) have been nervous about their pending forced entry into the DC Health Exchange (DC HealthLink).  The nerves are based on several factors, some real some made up by the media.  

Employers can breathe a little easier now.  The DC Health Link is again delaying this mandate, which originally required all small employers to manage their 2015 open enrollment process through DC HealthLink. This mandate was delayed to January 1, 2016, meaning employers can renew their plans and handle open enrollment directly with the carrier or through a TPA (like Benefit Mall, GBS or Kelly and Associates) through 2015. The plan was for the insurance carriers to move the employee enrollment data to the DC Health Link sometime this fall so that the open enrollments in 2016 could be managed through the DC Health Link.  DC Health Link announced this week that there is another delay which enables plans with renewals through June 1, 2016 to use their current renewal and open enrollment process and plans with renewals on or after July 1, 2016 to enroll through DC Health Link.

It’s important to continue to remain calm about this change as it is possible that this will change again.  More information about the Exchange requirement and the facts about moving to the Exchange can be found here.

In other news…

Anthem, a Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurer has agreed to purchase Cigna in a $54 billion deal. This purchase results in the creation of the largest health insurance company in the country.  Anthem (part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association) has been known as the largest, particularly with it’s market share on the east coast, and CIGNA is the fourth largest.  This will be interesting to watch as I suspect we could see more creative options in the self insured arena particularly for smaller groups interested in learning about the self insured space.  

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Photo credit: Got Credit via Flickr Creative Commons