For employers with two to 25 employees who already pay 50 percent of the employees' premium for single coverage, the state will pay $40 per eligible employee per month. In this case, the company with 25 employees will receive $1,000 from the program.
For a company that has a worker with a high-cost condition, ICARE will pay $60 per eligible employee per month, but that decreases $15 per year with the program. The maximum for the first year in this scenario is $1,500.
"We have received very positive responses from the companies involved and believe this program will have a great impact by providing a financial incentive to small businesses for offering health insurance. This benefit is vital to keeping these businesses competitive and viable," Mix said.
In this area, four companies have submitted applications. One business each in Boyle and Lincoln counties has applied, while two in Mercer County have submitted applications. As of yet, no Casey or Garrard employers have applied, Ronda Sloan, communications director for the insurance department, said today.
Big percentage of workers in small companies
Most Kentuckians work for small businesses; 93 percent of workers in Kentucky work for companies with fewer than 50 employees. More than 700,000 Kentuckians are employed by those companies, a state press release says.
For many of these employers, offering health insurance to employees is not possible. ICARE makes it more likely that these companies employees might see their way clear to offer health insurance and pay a portion of it.
"Anything is great when dealing with insurance costs. This is great," said Donna Bumgardner, who with her husband, Vernon Paul Bumgardner, operate Fleming Tractor Equipment in Flemingsburg. She was quoted in a press release.
The state insurance department emphasizes that ICARE is not a health insurance plan, but rather an incentive program to help Kentucky employers pay health care premiums for their workers. However, state officials hope employees will be encouraged to seek prevention and early treatment while promoting healthy behavior.
One question submitted to the insurance department asked if businesses in states bordering Kentucky are eligible for the program. The answer is no. The company must be in the commonwealth. Other questions can be answered at the ICARE office.
Employers interested in the program can contact any Kentucky-licensed health insurance agent or call the ICARE program at 877-ICARE07 (877 422-7307). People who work at a Kentucky small business also may want to contact an insurance agent.
An application form to sign up for the program can be downloaded at the ICARE Web site at www.ICAREKY.com.