Small Business Majority Applauds Move to Table Bill on Association Health Plans that Could Harm Small Businesses

For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, February 18, 2021

Statement from Awesta Sarkash, Government Affairs Manager for Small Business Majority, on the Virginia Senate Commerce and Labor Committee’s vote to halt the advancement of SB 1341

“We applaud today’s move by the Virginia Senate Commerce and Labor Committee to table SB 1341, which would have expanded access to association health plans and destabilized the marketplace. Had the committee advanced the bill, it would have cleared the path for a less protected insurance market in Virginia, driving up premiums for small businesses that already struggle with their healthcare costs. 

While expanding access to association health plans would have made it easier for some younger or healthier individuals to purchase coverage, ultimately it would have priced out small businesses with older or sicker employees. And consumers who need to access robust healthcare would eventually be priced out of the marketplace as well.

Ensuring strong and robust individual and small group healthcare marketplaces are vitally important to Virginia’s entrepreneurs. This is why we continue to call for the passage of HB2332 to establish a state reinsurance program, which would lower costs in the individual marketplace. Most importantly, stabilizing premiums would allow small business owners to put extra dollars towards their business, especially as many rebuild in the wake of COVID-19. 

Association health plans are dangerous additions to the marketplace that would undermine the small group market and could raise costs for small business owners. Today, the Virginia Senate took a critical step towards preserving healthcare for our small businesses, and we encourage them to stabilize it further by passing a reinsurance program.” 

About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority is a national small business organization that empowers America's diverse entrepreneurs to build a thriving and equitable economy. We engage our network of more than 80,000 small businesses and 1,000 business and community organizations to advocate for public policy solutions and deliver resources to entrepreneurs that promote equitable small business growth. Our deep connections with the small business community along with our scientific research enable us to educate the public about key issues impacting America’s entrepreneurs, with a special focus on advancing the smallest businesses and those facing systemic inequalities. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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