Health insurance premiums would increase by an average of 6% in the small-business market and the number of uninsured would rise by more than 1 million if association health plans were exempted from state regulation, according to National Small Business United, a lobbying group. Legislation is pending in the U.S. House and Senate that would exempt association plans, which offer health insurance to small businesses belonging to the association. The small-business lobbying group argues that businesses not participating in association plans would see premiums increase, because the unregulated association plans would select healthier members. "The potential savings of (such plans) is attributed to relief of mandated benefits and risk selection," said Karen Bender, of Mercer Risk, Finance and Insurance Consulting, which studied the matter for the lobbying group. "The unintended consequence is that the number of uninsured will go up as premiums increase in the regulated market." -- by Tony Fong
Small-business lobbying group warns against bill
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