Jon Gabel and other analysts at a University of Chicago research center say states should consider protecting Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act commercial health insurance market rules by doing more to limit access to the stop-loss insurance market.

If states fail to make it harder for small employers to use stop-loss insurance to self-insure, brokers may help many small employers cut health benefits costs by self-insuring, Gabel and his colleagues wrote in a new paper published in Health Affairs.

The researchers polled 604 private U.S. employers with three to 50 employees from January through June. They found that 72 percent of the employers offered health benefits, and 80 percent of the firms that offer health benefits use agents or brokers.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, a senior reporter at ThinkAdvisor and BenefitsPRO, previously was an associate editor at National Underwriter Life & Health. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached through X at @Think_Allison.