Business & Consumer

US Department of Labor announces proposal to expand healthcare through small businesses

UNITED STATES (WJBF) - The United States Department of Labor announces a proposal to expand access to healthcare through small business health plans.

The announcement was made on Thursday, Jan. 4 as a Noticed of Proposed Rulemaking to expand the opportunity to offer employment-based health insurance to small businesses through Small Business Health Plans, known as the Association Health Plans.

According to a release, 11 million Americans working for small business and sole proprietors and their families lack employer-sponsored insurance. Under the proposal, those families could find coverages.

The release states that the proposal would allow:

  • Allow employers to form a Small Business Health Plan on the basis of geography or industry. A plan could serve employers in a state, city, county, or a multi-state metro area, or it could serve all the businesses in a particular industry nationwide.
  • Allow sole proprietors to join Small Business Health Plans, clearing a path to access health insurance for the millions of uninsured Americans who are sole proprietors or the family of sole proprietors.
  • The proposed rule includes important protections for Americans. Small Business Health Plans (Association Health Plans) cannot charge individuals higher premiums based on health factors or refuse to admit employees to a plan because of health factors. The Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration will closely monitor these plans to protect consumers.

The proposal will include important protections for Americans.

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