–Rep. Valerie Gaydos introduced legislation to provide a mechanism for small business employers to join together to offer quality health insurance as a benefit to their employees.
“When small businesses group together, they are able to spread out the risk across the group and negotiate for discounted health insurance coverage the same way large businesses currently purchase health benefits on the group insurance market,” said Gaydos. This practice already occurs in more than 30 states and enacting the same in Pennsylvania will enable our small businesses to reduce health care costs through group buying power. Furthermore, decreasing costs for small businesses and small employers will help Pennsylvania companies be more competitive and which will ultimate help attract and maintain a strong workforce.
House Bill 555
would require that a group or association health plan being offered is fully insured, provides essential health benefits and protects small businesses and employees. The association health plan coverage would be guaranteed issued and renewable, prohibiting denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition, providing essential health benefits and plans comparable to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans. Prior to the enactment of the ACA, many companies, trade association members and non-profits were allowed to pool together for health care, but the ACA made that prohibitive.
Federal law and regulations currently do not allow the small businesses in an association to be treated as a large employer. This legislation simply restores the right of small businesses to group together.
House Bill 555 has been referred to the House Insurance Committee for consideration.