Bipartisan Coalition Supports Revival of Association Health Plans Legislation from Insurance Committee

March 28, 2024

March 26, 2024

Media Contact:
Joe Canino
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Bipartisan Coalition Supports Revival of Association Health Plans Legislation from Insurance Committee

HARTFORD – A bipartisan coalition of legislators and business leaders supported the revival of legislation that would allow individuals, solo practitioners, and employers of under 50 employees to pool together and purchase healthcare insurance at sustainable lower costs.

This legislation would allow them to create Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs). This proposal known as the “Association Health Plan”, has received bipartisan, bicameral support in the Insurance & Real Estate Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly for the last four years. However, Democratic leadership continues each year to oppose the legislation’s passage out of the House and Senate. This year, the bill failed to be voted out of committee after internal disagreements among committee chairs led to the failure of any bills to receive a joint favorable endorsement out of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee.

At a press conference in Hartford outside of the Connecticut Business Industry Association’s (CBIA) Business Day, Senator Tony Hwang led a bipartisan panel of Senate Republican Leader Stephen Harding, House Republican Leader Vinny Candelora, Senator Kevin Kelly, Representative Jill Barry, and CT River Valley Chamber of Commerce President Jessica Olander. Each speaker highlighted the importance that this proposal has to Connecticut businesses and families.

“We had an engaging public hearing with residents, experts, and advocates for HB 5427 on Association Health Plans. I was disappointed with the dissolution of the Insurance Committee’s joint favorable meeting before the deadline passed. Unfortunately, no bills were debated or passed out of committee. Today’s press conference emphasized how important it is for Association Health Plans to continue to move forward toward implementation. The bill had a public hearing, and we heard that healthcare and insurance are staggeringly unaffordable for individuals and small businesses. This would allow them to pool their purchasing power under an affinity association and provide affordable, protected, and regulated plans for their employees.” Said Senator Tony Hwang, Ranking Member of the Insurance & Real Estate Committee.

Sen. Hwang urged General Assembly leadership to find a way for the legislation to pass and enact the Association Health Plan legislation this year. That could mean attaching the proposal to a bill that made it out of another committee. This proposal was a priority for the insurance committee last session and “continues to be a priority this year.”

“Unfortunately, we are seeing from some in the majority that they are putting politics before policy. This is going to help countless employees and employers throughout the state. This is good, bipartisan legislation supported by members of both parties and business leaders across the state. Good, bipartisan policies like this should be moving forward now.” Said Senate Republican Leader Stephen Harding.

“For far too long, middle-class families have struggled. Kitchen table economics are not working for middle-class families, and one of the biggest expenses is healthcare. This is an example of a good idea that finds friends. There is still time in the legislative session to do it, allowing employers to pool together to lower their healthcare costs.” Said Senator Kevin Kelly.

“The CT River Vally Chamber fully supports this legislation. Something needs to be done to help our businesses. This is the most comprehensive, consumer-friendly MEWA legislation in the country.” Said CT River Valley Chamber of Commerce President Jessica Olander.