The State Legislature’s budget deal this week included a little-known provision to fix the State’s Family Health Plus Employer Buy-In (EBI) program. Leveraging the new tax credits under federal health reform, the Legislature’s move will help small business across New York buy comprehensive, affordable health care coverage for as little as $157 per employee per month.
The EBI program enables employers and union benefit funds to buy-in to New York’s popular Family Health Plus program, which has a comprehensive benefit package. However, last year the State issued rates which pegged individual premiums at roughly $540 per month, gutting any potential market for the program.
The State’s move to fix the program includes most of the provisions outlined in a newly released report by the Community Service Society: Three Steps to Affordable Health Coverage for New York’s Employers. The Legislature’s measures include:
- The adoption of modest co-payments;
- The adoption of an “out-of-network” Medicaid default rate;
- The targeting of the program to businesses and unions that currently do not provide coverage or are in jeopardy of losing coverage.
Collectively, these measures lower the previously existing premium of $540 per month by about 30% to about $365 per month. For small businesses who qualify for federal tax credits, the premiums could run as low as $157 per month for an employer and $104 per month for the employee.