There is a general rule of thumb for everything: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
There are over 500 small businesses in South Carolina that signed onto the South Carolina Health Cooperative after it rolled out in 2012. These businesses were excited to hear about a self-funded health insurance plan with premiums much lower than what they could get from an insurance carrier. These business owners were trying to provide coverage to their employees and save money. They should be applauded for that.
However, these businesses should have adhered to the “if it sounds too good to be true” adage. As it turned out, and as some (including the South Carolina Small Business Chamber) had warned, any health cooperative was doomed to failure if it didn’t have at least 60,000 lives in the pool. When the South Carolina Health Cooperative was shut down earlier this week by the S.C. Department of Insurance for insolvency, only 4,600 lives were covered in the plan, far too few to spread the losses among the healthy enrollees.
Not only do the employees of these businesses now not have insurance, the businesses themselves are contractually obligated to cover all the health care cost liabilities of the plan.
But first things first—we need to take care of employees and employers now without insurance coverage.
The S.C. Department of Insurance and the South Carolina Alliance of Health Plans have arranged to have those impacted businesses fully covered by health insurance as of December 1st if they enroll in approved plans by December 12th. To facilitate this enrollment, three health insurance fairs have been set up:
Columbia: Wednesday, 3-5 p.m., 1301 Gervais St., Suite 1100.
Charleston: Thursday, noon-2 p.m., location to be announced.
Greenville: Friday, noon-2 p.m., 24 Cleveland St.
If your business has been enrolled in the South Carolina Health Cooperative insurance plan and you want to have health insurance back dated to December 1st, attend one of these meetings.
If you are one of these impacted businesses or any other business and want to know your other options for enrolling in health insurance plans either as group insurance or individual coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, please contact the South Carolina Small Business Chamber at 803-252-5733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our staff can help you find the best course of action for your business and your employees. And we can guarantee that the options we share with you will be affordable and possibly even get you a tax credit. One thing they will not be is too good to be true.