Rep. Ray Russell announced Tuesday, August 27, that the Small Business Health Care Act became law this week. The law allows farmers, real estate agents, and other small businesses to form Association Health Plans (AHP) to purchase health insurance. Joining forces in associations to purchase insurance is expected to decrease costs for individuals and families enrolled in the plans.
“Small business owners, farmers, realtors, and others in Ashe and Watauga Counties strongly supported this bill,” said Rep. Russell. “I wanted to give them the tools to help rein in health care costs. I hope this will thread the needle between reducing health care costs while not interfering with the Affordable Care Act.”
The bill received bipartisan support before going to the governor earlier this month. These insurance plans will be available after Jan. 1, 2020. The bill included provisions giving broader options in health coverage while preventing “junk insurance plans”.
Rep. Russell said, “During the past two years, I have advocated for changes that would help individuals and families with incomes above the ACA subsidy level. Their insurance costs were too high. But I also advocated for families just below the ACA subsidy level in the ‘Medicaid Gap’. Now it’s time for the North Carolina Legislature to focus on expanding health care to working families who cannot afford health care coverage at all.”