Industry Associations Applaud Passage of Association Health Plan Bill - aftermarketNews

Industry Associations Applaud Passage of Association Health Plan Bill

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) both applauded the House of Representatives on its 263-165 vote to approve the "Small Business Health Fairness Act" (H.R. 525). The bipartisan legislation, often referred to as Association Health Plans (AHP), would allow small businesses to purchase affordable health care coverage through a trade association.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Automotive Service Association (ASA) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) both applauded the House of Representatives on its 263-165 vote to approve the “Small Business Health Fairness Act” (H.R. 525). The bipartisan legislation, often referred to as Association Health Plans (AHP), would allow small businesses to purchase affordable health care coverage through trade associations.

“If you don’t have health coverage, state mandates requiring health plans to offer specific benefits do you and your family no good at all,” said U.S. Rep. John Boehner, R-OH, chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Both ASA and SEMA, in addition to other associations such as the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), have long pushed for this legislation. Last Congressional session, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-ME, chairperson of the Senate Small Business Committee, introduced similar legislation (S. 406), but it has received minimal support.

“AHPs are supported by a number of trade associations under the Association Health Plan Coalition. The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has been an active member of the coalition for the last two Congresses. ASA believes the U.S. Senate is ripe for action on this bill,” said Bob Redding, ASA’s Washington, D.C., representative. “We urge members of the U.S. Senate to pass AHP legislation, as many of the small business men and women we represent are increasingly having to reduce or give up health care coverage as a benefit to their employees.”

H.R. 525 would potentially put small businesses on the same footing as large companies, trade unions and the federal government by allowing them to purchase federally regulated premiums through their national trade associations. The Association Health Plans would provide a bargaining-power mechanism for providing coverage to a vast pool of small companies and their employees. Cost-effective methods for purchasing health plans would translate into stable, affordable premiums.

“A recent SEMA survey confirmed skyrocketing premiums have made it difficult for specialty automotive companies to offer health care coverage to their employees,” explained Chris Kersting, SEMA’s president and CEO. “As a result, millions of hardworking Americans and their families are joining the ranks of the uninsured. This marks the eighth time over the past decade that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the AHP bill. It has been debated and refined. It is now time for the Senate to finish the process and take hard-working Americans off the rolls of the uninsured.”

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