WASHINGTON — In conjunction with the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing on small business health care solutions, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) called on Congress to take swift action to pass association health plan legislation.

“Quick congressional passage of association health plan legislation is vital to advance the president’s goal of strengthening America’s health care system and ensuring that American workers receive the cost-effective, high-quality health care coverage they deserve,” said Kirk Pickerel, ABC’s president and CEO. “ABC thanks Labor Secretary Elaine Chao for her leadership in promoting association health plans as an effective approach to solving the health care crisis facing America’s small businesses.

“Massive health insurance premium increases of 40 to 50 percent and higher are the reality for a number of small businesses in America today. Association health plans can reduce health insurance costs by 15 percent or more by allowing small businesses to join together to create economies of scale and bargaining clout,” said Pickerel. “Association health plan legislation will help solve the problem of skyrocketing health care costs facing America’s businesses and affecting their employees.”

ABC established an association health benefits plan in 1957 and, through the years, offered traditional health insurance plans, HMOs, and PPOs to its members, many of whom were small business owners who would otherwise not be able to afford health insurance coverage for their employees. In 2001, ABC was forced to discontinue the health insurance portion of its association health plan when ABC’s insurance carrier terminated coverage because of incompatible and inconsistent state laws, making it too expensive to provide coverage.

Publication date: 02/10/2003