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NCOIL Urges Congress to Block AHPs

In a letter sent recently to each member of Congress, National Conference of Insurance Legislators' (NCOIL) President Representative Craig Eiland (TX), acting on behalf of...
May 17, 2005

In a letter sent recently to each member of Congress, National Conference of Insurance Legislators' (NCOIL) President Representative Craig Eiland (TX), acting on behalf of all NCOIL legislators, urged lawmakers to oppose pending federal legislation that would exempt association health plans (AHPs) from state laws and oversight. The letter was the latest NCOIL effort to oppose federal preemption of state laws regarding certain health insurance arrangements.

"While promoted as a way to help improve affordability of coverage for small businesses and their workers, AHPs would have the opposite effect - making health insurance coverage less affordable for most small firms and making it difficult, if not impossible, for firms with high-risk workers to have access to affordable coverage," Eiland wrote. "If exempted from state laws, AHPs would be able to 'cherry pick' the healthiest firms from these pools by offering low premiums, but charging firms with older and sicker workers premiums that far exceed what would be allowed under state small employer health reforms."

The current Senate version of the bill providing for AHPs, S. 406 sponsored by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), was the subject of April 20 hearings before the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, but the measure has yet to move out of committee. In addition to NCOIL and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), most major health insurance organizations including America's Health Insurance Plans, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the National Association of Health Underwriters and the Association of Health Insurance Advisors oppose the bill in its current incarnation.

NCOIL Letter Opposing AHPs (NCOIL 4/25/05) 

NAIC: AHPs Are Bad for Consumers (NAIC position paper) 

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