Alexander: Proposed Health Insurance Rule Could Lower Costs for up to 11 Million Self-Employed or Small Business Employees

Posted on January 4, 2018

MARYVILLE, January 4, 2018 — Senate health and labor committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said “the Department of Labor’s proposed health insurance rule could make insurance available to 11 million self-employed or small business employees—like farmers, or songwriters, or small businessmen and women—who today are priced out of our health insurance system.”

Chairman Alexander made his comments after the Department of Labor released its proposed rule to allow more self-employed Americans and small businesses to band together to provide a small business health plan, otherwise known as an Association Health Plan (AHP)—which helps those employers reduce health insurance costs.

Alexander said, “The rule would give these individuals and small business employees the same sort of lower cost insurance opportunities that the 178 million Americans have who buy insurance through their employers. These policies will also have the same sort of consumer protections that employees of large companies have such as protections against being charged higher premiums for having a pre-existing condition.”

“If made final, this rule should help up to 11 million hard working Americans who don’t have access to employer sponsored coverage and in addition provide new, more affordable options to Americans in the individual market who are getting hammered by skyrocketing premiums.”

Alexander concluded, “Today’s announcement begins a 60-day window for employers and the general public to make comments on the proposed rule and have their voices heard, and I’m confident that the Administration will properly consider this valuable input when deciding whether and how to make the regulation final.”

Background:

If made final, the proposed rule would make important changes to deliver health insurance to more hard-working Americans and their families:

The rule would allow businesses to form an Association Health Plan (AHP) on the basis of common geography or industry. An AHP could cover all the businesses in a state, city, county or multi-state metro area, or it could serve all businesses in a particular industry nationwide. 

The rule would allow AHPs to be offered by employer associations formed for the purpose of providing health coverage. 

The rule would allow more self-employed people to join AHPs, allowing greater options for health insurance for millions of Americans who are sole proprietors or the family of sole proprietors.

The proposed rule also contains important consumer protections.  Under the proposed rule, AHPs cannot charge higher premiums based on health factors or refuse to admit employees to an AHP due to health factors.

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