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Federal health care officials are balking at Gov. Deval Patrick's request for a permanent waiver for small businesses from some requirements of President Obama's health care law, instead granting the state an additional year to come into compliance.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday that while she can't grant permanent relief for those in the small group market, she can add a year to the three-year transition period Massachusetts was granted last year.
That extends the period that state health insurers may use "rating factors" such as group size or industry to create insurance rates for small businesses.
Under the federal law, all but four of the rating factors used to establish health insurance premiums in Massachusetts were eliminated.
The state now has until 2017 to transition into the federal requirements.