Senate health and labor committee Chairman Lamar Alexander today led a group of 30 Senate Republicans urging the Trump Administration to expand access to lower cost employer insurance to potentially millions more Americans.
In the letter sent today to the Department of Labor urging DOL to issue a final rule to expand Association Health Plans to allow more small employers and sole proprietors to band together to provide health coverage at lower prices the senators wrote:
“A final regulation expanding access to AHPs could help three groups of Americans.
First, it could help the 11 million Americans and their family members who are uninsured today because they work for a small employer or sole proprietorship that does not offer health insurance. Second, it could provide a new insurance option for the nine million Americans who purchase coverage in the individual market today without a subsidy under Obamacare and cannot afford the unsustainable rate increases that we have seen on the exchanges since the law took effect in 2014. Third, it could provide flexibility for a new insurance option for Americans who today have an offer of coverage through a small employer that does not meet their families’ needs.
“AHPs can help these Americans by providing a lower cost alternative with the same sort of consumer protections and tax breaks that apply to employees who receive health care insurance from large employers. Employer-provided coverage is approximately $5000 cheaper per policy for a family of four because of federal tax breaks. Furthermore, when sole proprietors and small businesses join together to purchase as a larger group, employers may reduce their administrative costs, bargain for better deals from insurance companies, and create stable risk pools with more people. These advantages bring down costs for everyone in the AHP.
“These plans also include the important patient protections that apply to the roughly 160 million Americans who receive coverage from large employers. An AHP cannot charge a patient a higher premium because they have a pre-existing health condition, deny coverage of a pre-existing health condition, cancel an employee’s plan because the employee gets sick or impose annual or lifetime limits on benefit coverage. An AHP must offer coverage to dependent children up to age 26, if dependent coverage is offered, and must cover preventive health services free of charge to the patient.”
The letter was signed by: Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Michael B. Enzi (R-Wyo.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Todd Young (R-Ind.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C).