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Sen. Talent Says New Census Data Show Need for Association Health Plans

New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau that shows that the number of people without health insurance rose by 1.4 million last year, bringing...
September 1, 2004

New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau that shows that the number of people without health insurance rose by 1.4 million last year, bringing the total to 45 million, has prompted a renewed call for Congress to pass Association Health Plan (AHP) legislation. Senator Jim Talent (R-Missouri), co-sponsor of the Small Business Health Fairness Act (S. 545), is urging his colleagues to pass legislation authorizing AHPs. S. 545 would amend the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to allow trade groups, associations and others to pool together to offer group health insurance. Sen. Talent says the bill would cost next to nothing, and would give small businesses to join together to obtain more affordable coverage.

Legislation providing for AHPs has been strongly supported by business groups, but opposed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). "The proposed legislation would allow employers with younger, healthier workforces to withdraw their employees from a state's small group market, thus leaving behind small businesses with older and sicker employees," said an NAIC statement. "The legislation would exempt AHPs from state minimum benefit and service area requirements, thus allowing them to 'cherry pick' good risk through the design of the benefit package or choice of service area."    

Sen. Talent Says Senate Should Pass Small Business Health Plans (8/26/04)

NAIC: Association Health Plans Are Bad for Consumers

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