Sen. Berthel, Rep. Polletta, Waterbury Regional Chamber Support Bipartisan Measure for Affordable Health Insurance Options for Small Businesses, Nonprofits  

February 22, 2023

Measure will create new, affordable options for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.


Chief Deputy Senate Republican Leader Eric Berthel (R-Watertown), State Rep. Joe Polletta (R-Watertown), and Waterbury Regional Chamber President and CEO Lynn Ward yesterday joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers and a coalition of business groups, chambers of commerce, and nonprofit organizations to support legislation offering healthcare relief for struggling Connecticut small businesses.


H.B. 6710 allows small employers to pool together to jointly purchase large group health insurance plans directly from a carrier, making health insurance more affordable and accessible. Small employers with fewer than 51 employees cannot currently access the large group market.


Many of these employers are increasingly moving to level-funded and self-funded arrangements due to the small group market’s rapidly increasing premiums and limited health benefits.


Under this bill, groups can negotiate directly with an insurance company to design a plan that meets their needs with lower administrative costs, rating flexibility, and increased buying power.


The bill also allows trade and industry associations of significant scale to offer self-funded insurance plans regulated by the Connecticut Insurance Department and subject to the Affordable Care Act’s 10 essential health benefits and state-mandated benefits.


These plans will help improve patient outcomes, incentivize healthy lifestyles, and keep healthcare costs down.


“There are small businesses in the state doing the right thing, supporting jobs in Connecticut. This bill will remove barriers that they face to offer employees with affordable healthcare options. There are currently employees all over our district and state making an average wage yet being crushed by a high deductible plan that requires thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. This is not sustainable and is part of the reason why healthcare is unaffordable in the state. I’m happy to see a collaborative effort from both sides of the aisle to help small businesses and families,” said Senator Berthel.


Representative Polletta said, “Small businesses are the backbone of our community, and they demand the focus of a supportive state legislature. This measure would increase competition in healthcare coverage for these enterprises and drive down costs in doing so. When our business community is suffering under looming regulations and striving for an economic bounce back, we must do everything we can to foster their growth.”


Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Lynn Ward also cited the positive effect the measure will have on a small business’s bottom line, enabling job creation and employee retention.


She said, in part, “As the cost of doing business in Connecticut continues to escalate, providing healthcare for its workers should not add to the many stresses a business owner endures. This legislation will allow small businesses across Connecticut to band together and take advantage of some of the same healthcare opportunities as large employers and corporations. This includes lowering costs, as well as expanding coverage options, which will result in a more affordable path for many employers. It will also help workforce retention and recruitment, which is another primary concern for businesses.”


Organizations supporting H.B. 6710:


  • CBIA
  • Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • The Credit Union League of Connecticut
  • The Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance
  • National Federation of Independent Business
  • Connecticut Restaurant Association
  • Connecticut Brewers Guild
  • Berlin Chamber of Commerce
  • Bristol Chamber of Commerce
  • Connecticut River Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Farmington Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce
  • Mystic Chamber of Commerce
  • Northeastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce
  • Plainville Chamber of Commerce
  • Plymouth Chamber of Commerce
  • Quinnipiac Valley Chamber