The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) called on the U.S. Senate to pass vital legislation to allow small businesses to band together and purchase health insurance at reduced rates. The Senate is expected to…
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) called on the U.S. Senate to pass vital legislation to allow small businesses to band together and purchase health insurance at reduced rates. The Senate is expected to vote this week on S. 1955, The Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act by Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), which would allow small businesses to operate under the same rules that govern large employer and union health plans.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. lodging industry,” said AH&LA President & CEO Joseph A. McInerney, CHA. “It is critical that Congress pass S. 1955 to level the playing field and allow small businesses to offer fully-insured plan options under a uniform set of rules across state lines. This crucial change will enable the lodging industry to provide for the economic and personal well-being of its employees and their families.”
AH&LA estimates that of the nearly 48,000 lodging properties in the United States, more than half have fewer than 75 rooms, and 88 percent have fewer than 150 rooms. More than 60 percent of the 45 million Americans that lack health insurance coverage are members of a family dependent on a paycheck from a small business or are self-employed. AH&LA believes most of these employees would be eligible to enroll in a Small Business Health Plan created by S. 1955.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that small businesses obtaining insurance through Small Business Health Plans will likely experience premium reductions of 13 percent on average and as high as 25 percent, offering savings of $1,000-$1,900 annually for the average family health plan offered by a small business.
Although current law allows certain small businesses to purchase limited health insurance coverage through associations, AH&LA said that small businesses must comply with a wide range of complex state laws and regulations. Larger businesses and unions are exempt from these requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) if they have operations in more than one state and can “self-insure.”
“Small businesses often cannot meet the current onerous requirements,” said McInerney. “With passage of S. 1955, small employers would have greater bargaining power, economies of scale, and administrative efficiencies.”
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