- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts has received a one-year waiver from a provision of President Barack Obama’s health care law that Gov. Charlie Baker says will protect small businesses from insurance rate hikes.

The waiver announced Tuesday allows Massachusetts to continue using existing rating factors for small businesses. Baker traveled to Washington to lobby for the waiver.

Baker said the waiver is essential to ensuring local employers continue to thrive.

Massachusetts extended health care coverage to nearly all residents under its landmark 2006 law, establishing a state marketplace that merged small group and individual insurance markets.

The ratings factors protected small employers who took on risks from the individual insurance market.

The waiver extends the state’s current transition period through January, 2017. The ratings factors will phase out entirely in 2018.

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