Association health plans protected under Burgess legislation

U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) introduced legislation on April 12 that would protect individuals who have health insurance offered by association health plans.

Association health plans allow small businesses facing rising premiums to jointly access a group insurance market that may have better rates and benefits. The Association Health Plans Act of 2019, H.R. 2294, would ensure that Americans keep their access to association health plans by codifying U.S. Department of Labor rules. Rep. Burgess introduced the measure with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI).

“Association health plans expand opportunities for Americans to choose insurance that meets their needs, and for employers to provide quality insurance to their employees. As a physician who once owned my own practice, I am encouraged that these plans allow employers, by partnering together, to offer quality coverage that can be more affordable,” Rep. Burgess said.

The congressmen said several chambers of commerce in North Texas have begun offering health plans to their members, but that their coverage is threatened by a recent federal district court ruling that stuck down the Department of Labor’s association health plan rule.

“Although federal courts have jeopardized the individuals in North Texas and around the country who are covered by existing association health plans, I have introduced this legislation to protect Americans’ access to quality care,” he said.

RaDonna Hessel, CEO of the Grapevine Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the North Texas Employers Health Plan Cooperative, expressed gratitude to Rep. Burgess for his work on the issue. “Any opportunity to help small business owners offer quality health insurance to their employees should be a bipartisan priority,” Hessel said.