June 13, 2017
Utah’s Health Reform Task Force voted in October 2016 to discontinue use of the state-run small employer health insurance exchange, called Avenue H. Since its inception, Avenue H has provided small businesses and their employees a wide array of subsidized group coverage. However, due to low carrier participation, no out-of-state coverage and steep rate increases, lawmakers have decided to shift control to the federal government as of Jan. 1, 2018.
In a letter sent to Gov. Herbert following the vote, the task force asks that the Governor notify HHS of Utah’s intention to end the state small employer health exchange, and officially request transition to federal control. The letter also recommends use of a direct-to-carrier model similar to the model used by Idaho and Vermont. In the direct-to-carrier model, the state forgoes use of a SHOP exchange and instead has small employers obtain coverage through the carrier or with assistance from a broker/agent. In addition, the letter suggests that the state maintain regulatory authority over state plans offered through the federal SHOP.
Therefore, any small employers in Utah who wish to take part in 2018 enrollment should anticipate changes, both at the state and federal level. However, 2017 health plans sold through Avenue H are not expected to be affected. Please contact your advisor with any questions and for assistance.
Health Reform Task Force Preliminary Report » Letter to Governor Herbert » H.B. 336 » Avenue H »