Kennedy introduces bill to expand health care access for small businesses and the self-employed

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Association Health Plans Act, which would codify a Trump administration rule allowing small businesses, the self-employed and freelance workers to have expanded access to association health plans (AHP).

“AHPs lower health care costs and expand access to the larger insurance market for Americans who work for small businesses or are self-employed. Making AHPs more inclusive will give smaller employers the chance to access health benefits that were otherwise out of their reach. Ultimately, this bill would ensure more Louisiana workers and families have easier access to quality, affordable health care,” said Kennedy.

AHPs allow smaller companies, the self-employed or freelance workers to group together to access the large-group insurance market, which covers approximately 180 million Americans.

Associations are groups of employers that collaborate as a formal organization in order to access the large-group health insurance market. To qualify as an association, a group of employers must satisfy several conditions, including demonstrating that members share a commonality of interest and that members control the association.

Easing restrictions on AHPs will allow small employers to offer additional benefits to their employees, who may otherwise need to buy after-tax insurance coverage through the Obamacare marketplaces, rely on government programs or go without coverage entirely.

The bill text is available here.

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