Senator Jon Tester is backing a bipartisan bill to give states greater power to oversee Obamacare’s small group health insurance markets.

Currently, the Affordable Care Act allows states to create different markets for providing health insurance coverage to small employers (50 or fewer employees) and for medium sized employers (51-100 employees).

Beginning next year, however, all businesses with up to 100 employees will be subject to the same requirements, which could cause premiums to increase by nearly 20 percent for most mid-sized businesses and could force many of those businesses to self-fund insurance for their employees.

Tester is supporting the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act to allow state insurance commissioners, and not the federal government, to determine the size of the businesses on the markets.

This bill prevents health insurance costs from going up so Montana’s small businesses can keep growing and contributing to their local economies,” Tester said.  “The PACE Act is a common-sense solution that improves the Affordable Care Act and gives states the flexibility they need to keep working families insured and healthy.”

The PACE Act is supported by the Montana Chamber of Commerce and by Montana Securities and Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen.