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    Wednesday, May 12, 2004

    Looking for Answers: Senate Republicans put forth some suggestions for covering the uninsured yesterday, but Association Health Plans seem to have lukewarm support:

    The panel was divided on another Bush proposal, which would let small businesses band together and buy insurance through their trade associations. The panel listed such 'association health plans' as an option, but did not explicitly endorse them.

    Two panel members, Senators Olympia J. Snowe of Maine and Jim Talent of Missouri, said such health plans would allow small businesses to pool their purchasing power and buy coverage at reduced rates, as large employers and unions do.

    But Mr. Gregg said he had two concerns about those health plans. They would be largely exempt from state insurance regulation, he said, and they might attract healthier people, driving up costs for those who stay in the traditional insurance market.

    The National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association oppose association health plans for the same reasons.

    I'm not sure why they would attract healthier people any more than insurance plans provided by large self-insured employers would. As it is now, it's so difficult for small employers to get insurance coverage for their employees, they just about have to discriminate against the unhealthy. A small employer trying to get coverage for their employees is just like an individual looking for insurance. The insurance companies, at least in my area, can choose not to cover an employee based on their risk or they can make the premiums extremely high.

    And as far as regulations, the association health plans would be subject to the same federal regulations that large corporation and union health plans are. If it's OK for them, why wouldn't it be OK for small business?

    Finally, it's no surprise that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners oppose it. Their job is to regulate the small business and individual insurance market. And Blue Cross/Blue Shield? They've got a large slice of the pie of the small business market in most states. In fact, in a lot of states, they've got a monopoly on it. Wouldn't want to give up those big premiums now, would we?

    posted by Sydney on 5/12/2004 07:53:00 AM 1 comments


    You have a good blog here. Is this your only one? I have a couple too. Happy blogging!

    az health insurance for small business

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:18 PM  

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