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Massachusetts receives health insurance waiver for small businesses

Massachusetts has received an extended waiver from a section of the Affordable Care Act that mandates how insurers calculate premiums for small businesses, news that will help keep insurance premiums low for small businesses for the next two years.

The news has received mixed reactions in the marketplace, but groups that represent businesses with less than 100 employees overall are pleased.

“Stability is good for business, to the extent that this is stability, it’s good for businesses,” said Bill Vernon, Massachusetts state director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

“This is just a temporary win,” said Retailers Association of America President Jon Hurst. “We still have to look at the long-term on how we protect our (companies), making sure those that work for small businesses aren’t second class consumers.”

In Massachusetts, insurers and businesses decide on health insurance premiums based on a number of demographics and aspects of the business, known as “rating factors." These rules applied to businesses with less than 50 employees.

The Affordable Care Act seeks to establish standard rating factors across the country, which would eliminate many of the factors Massachusetts businesses have used to calculate rates.

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