Health rates could rise for local small businesses

Posted at 6:06 AM, Jul 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-27 09:06:24-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Many are paying close attention to the health care debate going on in Washington, D.C., but some San Diegans are now finding out how much their own health insurance rates will rise later this year.

Health insurers are releasing their rates for businesses with up to 50 workers -- those that are not required to provide employer-sponsored health insurance to their workers under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

But those that are required to provide coverage should see their rates rise between 6 and 12 percent in the fourth quarter when many renew for the year, according to Craig Gussin, spokesman for the nonprofit San Diego Association of Health Underwriters.

Gussin is including insurers like Kaiser, Sharp, Blue Cross Blue shield and UnitedHealth. His general small business breakdown, which varies based on HMO and PPO rates and also where in California the plan:

  • Blue Cross: Up 3.2 percent
  • Health net: Up 10 percent
  • Blue Shield: Some decreases, but also some 8 to 10 percent increases
  • United HealthCare: Up 10 to 16 percent
  • Cal Choice: Up 8 to 12 percent
  • Covered CA group plans: Up 7 to 11 percent

Still, Gussin said it's a relief for many employers and their workers who saw premiums increase 20-30 percent last year. He said it could be because insurers are getting a better feel for operating under the Affordable Care Act.

RELATED: Information on Small Business Employer Mandate (California)

Either way, Gussin said it's common for businesses to shop around for the best rates and plans.

At Hillcrest's Urban Mo's Bar & Grill, owner Chris Shaw said that can be stressful for the workers.

"We jump from Kaiser to Sharp to Scripps, but we have to watch our budget. It's hard on the employees when they get a doctor that they like at Kaiser and then we end up going to Sharp," Shaw said.

Gussin advised against using these health insurance increases to project premiums for individuals and plans for larger employers.