GP Health Insurance Coming to Small Business in Asheville
Here is what is at the Asheville Chamber of Commerce:
Asheville Area Chamber's Health Insurance Pilot Program Passes NC House and Senate
Contact: Carol HensleyAssistant Vice President Small Business and Entrepreneurship (828) 258-6116
The Health Insurance Pilot Program or H.B. 212 passed the North Carolina General Assembly on August 6, 2009 and was delivered to Governor Perdue on Friday, August 7, 2009 where it awaits her signature of approval.
The Health Insurance Pilot Program aims to allow the pooling of small and large businesses with hopes to demonstrate an affordable employer based health insurance plan for businesses. The pilot program could help to insure as many as 25,000 workers in the Asheville area.
The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Business Healthcare Roundtable have been working on a plan to provide affordable health insurance for local employees and employers for the past six years. The process has involved discussion with and input from large and small business in Buncombe County, physician groups, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and United Healthcare. “Asheville is comprised of many great small businesses. We have long recognized the rising cost of health insurance and the inability of many of our small businesses to afford insurance for their employees. We are excited that Asheville can lead in the attempt to help bring affordable health insurance to North Carolina,” said Richard J. Lutovsky the President & CEO of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber employees and leaders from Western North Carolina are now working diligently to put the pilot program into practice. Many of Buncombe County’s largest employers will be participating in the final design of the product. H.B. 212 received unanimous support of all the members of the Western North Carolina delegation. The bill’s primary sponsors are Representatives Bruce Goforth, Susan Fisher, Ray Rapp and Jane Whilden. “This is a great opportunity for Western North Carolina to be the first pilot program in the state that allows employers to work together to reduce health insurance costs and make it easier for our companies to provide the insurance that so many residents need today,” said Representative Bruce Goforth. Senator Martin Nesbitt led the efforts in the North Carolina Senate.
Here is some info re: the law signed:
GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
HOUSE BILL 212
Short Title: Health Insurance Pool Pilot Program. (Public)
Sponsors: Representatives Goforth, Fisher, Rapp, Whilden (Primary Sponsors);
K. Alexander, Bell, Bryant, England, Faison, Hurley, Insko, Lucas, McElraft,
Tarleton, Wainwright, R. Warren, and Wray.
Referred to: Insurance, if favorable, Commerce, Small Business, and Entrepreneurship.
February 18, 2009
1 A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
2 AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF HEALTH INSURANCE PILOT
3 DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS IN INTERESTED COUNTIES TO PROVIDE A
4 MODEL FOR AFFORDABLE EMPLOYER-BASED HEALTH INSURANCE.
5 The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
6 SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, health
7 insurance demonstration projects ("Demonstration Projects") for large and small employees
8 may be established by eligible sponsors ("Eligible Demonstration Project Sponsors"). Specific
9 Demonstration Projects, the goal of which is to reduce the number of uninsured North
10 Carolinians and to reduce the cost of health insurance for all purchasers of health insurance in
11 the Demonstration Project areas, may begin not later than April 1, 2010, and may continue
12 through December 31, 2014. Entities which are eligible under subdivisions (b)(1) and (b)(1a)
13 of G.S. 58-51-80 to have issued a policy of group health insurance are Eligible Demonstration
14 Project Sponsors. A Demonstration Project must comply with the following:
15 (1) The products for any pooling of groups are fully insured by an insurer
16 authorized to issue coverage in North Carolina.
17 (2) The insurance is issued through a group master contract with a bona fide
18 association as defined in G.S. 58-68-25 or a trust or other legal entity that,
19 pursuant to G.S. 58-51-80, is capable of entering into a group master
21 (3) The pooling arrangement requires that all small employers desiring to join
22 be accepted and that all eligible employees of each employer who elect
23 coverage through the participating employers be included in the pool.
24 (4) Each employer participating in the pooling arrangement and its employees
25 are offered the same benefit plan.