NU Online News Service, Feb. 12, 1:15 p.m. – Health insurers and business groups are clashing again over legislation that would allow trade associations to organize self-insured health insurance groups.
Legislation strongly backed by the Bush administration, creating association health plans (AHPs), was introduced in the House yesterday with strong bipartisan support.
Similar legislation backed by the administration was introduced in the 107th Congress but was not enacted.
At a press briefing, Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao said the legislation “is aimed squarely at the gap in coverage among small businesses, the bedrock of our economy, and job creation.”
Called the Small Business Health Fairness Act, the legislation would allow trade and professional associations to establish self-insured groups on behalf of their members.
The groups would be exempt from state insurance regulation but would have to meet federally mandated solvency requirements. These include a mandatory indemnified back-up plan to assure claims are paid, independent actuarial certification of solvency on a quarterly basis and mandatory surplus reserves of $2 million.