Bill expands small business healthcare options


U.S. Reps. Tim Walberg (R-MI), Michael C. Burgess (R-TX), Rick Allen (R-GA), and Virginia Foxx (R-NC) introduced Tuesday the Association Health Plans Act of 2021, which would expand small business healthcare options while lowering costs via association health plans (AHPs).

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The legislation seeks to amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, establishing additional criteria for determining when employers may join a group or association of employers treated as an employer under section 3(5) to sponsor a group health plan and for other purposes.

“The high cost of healthcare remains a struggle for small businesses, many of whom are still facing pandemic-related hardship,” Walberg said. “Association health plans are a common-sense solution that empower small employers and their employees when making health coverage decisions. By providing small businesses with greater bargaining power, it allows them to offer more quality options for workers at a better price.”

Walberg said the measure would expand pathways to more affordable healthcare for families nationwide.

“Americans value the freedom of individualism and want the same when choosing a health insurance plan,” Burgess said. “Association health plans expand the opportunity for Americans to choose insurance that meets their needs and for employers to provide quality insurance to their employees. Having owned my own practice, I understand the value of these plans, which allow employers to partner together to offer quality coverage that can be more affordable. These health plans are a step toward expanding our options and restoring our personal liberty in our healthcare system.”

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