Healthcare advocates criticize insurance law
Advocates for affordable healthcare said yesterday that a key piece of the state's new health insurance law asks far too little of businesses, requiring them to provide employees only bare-bones coverage to avoid a $295 per-worker fee for companies offering no insurance plan.
But business organizations said a proposed coverage rule that's part of the law accurately reflects a legislative compromise intended to guarantee coverage for virtually all state residents.
The rule's supporters said lawmakers who reached the deal in the spring shared a modest goal: ending an unfair system that allowed companies offering no insurance to get a free ride by relying on more generous employers to help foot the bill for uninsured medical expenses. The Democrat-led Legislature that adopted the nation's most ambitious healthcare restructuring didn't embrace the broader goal of requiring employers to meet minimum coverage levels, supporters said.
At issue is proposal by the state Division of Health Care Finance and Policy to define what constitutes a "fair and reasonable" contribution for employers with 11 or more workers. The law uses that language as a benchmark to determine which employers must pay $295 per worker to help finance the initiative.
The rule is expected to be made final next month. (AP)