This week, Carolina Journal’s Julie Havlak reported on the Association Health Plan bill that recently became law. Havlak reports:
The new law will allow small businesses to cluster under Association Health Plans when bargaining with health insurers over their premiums. Small businesses could save from $8,700 to $10,800 a year by moving from the individual market, and those migrating from the small group market could save up to $4,100 a year, according to an Avalere report.
Cooper did not sign the bill. It became law after spending 10 days on his desk. Havlak explains:
Cooper said he refused to sign the bill because he doubted the plans’ quality of care and their legal standing. While he didn’t veto the bill, he was critical of the plans, and pushed Medicaid expansion as an alternative.
The bill had bipartisan backings and was supported by small businesses and small business groups. Havlak writes:
“Through this action, small businesses and independent contractors will now have an option for quality, affordable health insurance through Association Health Plans,” N.C. Realtors Association President Asa Fleming said. “This bipartisan legislation focuses on ensuring that hard-working citizens throughout our state are not allowed to fall into a gap which can’t be addressed in other programs.”
Many of the people who are expected to move to AHPs wouldn’t be helped by Medicaid, even under expansion. For individuals who make more than $50,000, both Medicaid and ACA subsidies are off the table.
According to Rep. Kyle Hall, R-Stokes:
“The bill would provide opportunity to the thousands of small business owners across the state who have been forced to pay higher costs or go without proper care. Most importantly, this legislation does not diminish quality of insurance, but instead creates choice and delivers the care that our small businesses need.”