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AHP Bill Advances in the House

Following a full day of debate, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved H.R. 525, the Small Business Health Fairness Act, which...
March 29, 2005

Following a full day of debate, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved H.R. 525, the Small Business Health Fairness Act, which would allow for the creation of association health plans (AHPs). AHPs would permit trade groups or professional associations to buy federally regulated group health insurance that is exempt from mandatory benefits requirements and many other state-level regulations. The committee vote was 25-22.

Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) who sponsored the Senate's version of the bill said AHPs would increase the availability of health insurance and have been found to operate with administrative costs 13 percent to 30 percent lower than those of traditional health plans.

Advocated by some small business groups, proposals to allow AHPs are opposed by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL), the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and the National Governors Association.

In addition, most major health insurance and many other groups oppose the measure, including the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), the Association of Health Insurance Advisors, the National Association of Health Underwriters, America's Health Insurance Plans, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, the National Small Business Association and the American Diabetes Association.

NAIC: Association Health Plans are Bad For Consumers (NAIC)

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