Proposed Texas Law Could Make it Easier for Small Businesses to Provide Health Benefits
A small change to the wording of a current state law in Texas governing health insurance can make it much easier for small businesses in that state to provide healthcare insurance benefits to their employees. It is hoped that the state legislature will make the change when it reconvenes.
The two-sentence adjustment to the law would allow small companies, those with 50 or less employees, to pay 100% of the full healthcare insurance premium for employee health benefits if they so desire. Under the current regulations employees of small businesses have to pay part of the cost of their health benefits But how can “allowing” small businesses to pay more for health insurance, benefit the firms and their employees?
Basically the idea is this: If a small firm pays all of the cost of its workers’ health insurance premiums, just about every employee will sign up for the health insurance. This is “Health Insurance 101” More enrollees mean a risk pool that is bigger. More young and healthier people in the mix results in lower rates for everyone in the group. According to the Texas Association of Health Underwriters, such a move could lower health insurance rates almost 10%.
The ranks of the working people who cannot afford health insurance have been swelling nationwide, but the problem is especially rampant in Texas. Texas was recently ranked 4th as the Sate with the most uninsured-working residents.
The current Texas Insurance Code only permits health insurance providers to offer firms with more than 50 employees the choice of paying the full amount of their employees’ group health insurance premiums.
The group of Underwriters does not want the state to issue a mandate that requires small businesses to provide health insurance to their workers and pay their entire premium; they just want them to have the same options as the big guys.
The Texas Medical Association recognizes that most businesses in Texas fit the small business category. TMA is in support of any measure that will allow more businesses to provide basic low-cost heath insurance to their workers. In the meantime Insurance Companies in the state are trying to provide more affordable health insurance products to the small business market. Humana, one of the largest health insurance providers in the state, recently developed an insurance plan called "No Worries." The plan designed for small firms allows companies to fix their healthcare insurance costs at a locked in rate for several years at once.