WASHINGTON-The House recently passed a bill to help small businesses, including credit unions, cope with the escalating costs of health insurance programs. The Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2003 (H.R. 660) was approved by the House in a near party line vote of 262-162, with mainly Republicans voting in favor. It was passed on to the Senate and referred to the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Congressman Ernie Fletcher (R-Ky.) is the primary sponsor of the legislation, which has 162 co-sponsors including Small Business Committee Chairman Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.). The legislation would create national Association Health Plans, enabling small businesses to purchase health insurance through national associations by trade, industry, profession, chamber of commerce, or similar business associations, and which meet certain Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 certification requirements, at group rates. ERISA includes federal preemptions of state laws, and therefore, AHPs would be exempt from state regulation. The legislation also would commission a study by Jan. 1, 2008 of the effect, if any, AHPs have had on the number of uninsured individuals. CUNA has written a letter in support of the legislation, pointing out that only 39% of small credit unions even provide health insurance to their CEOs, according to CUNA’s 2001 Credit Union Staff Benefits Survey. “Experts estimate that roughly 40 million Americans are currently uninsured with premium levels serving as a key impediment to more widespread coverage,” the letter to Manzullo from CUNA president and CEO Dan Mica read. “As with national trends, credit unions are also seeing their health care costs become a large and quickly increasing share of benefit costs. And for many small credit union, health care is simply too expensive.” Mica added that CUNA would also be interested in expanding the AHPs to allow credit unions to offer discounted policies to small businesses within their fields of membership. A NAFCU spokesperson said that the group is also tracking the legislation and performing early analysis. [email protected]

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to CUTimes.com, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited CUTimes.com content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical CUTimes.com information including comprehensive product and service provider listings via the Marketplace Directory, CU Careers, resources from industry leaders, webcasts, and breaking news, analysis and more with our informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and CU Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including Law.com and GlobeSt.com.

Already have an account?


© 2023 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.


Credit Union Times

Join Credit Union Times

Don’t miss crucial strategic and tactical information necessary to run your institution and better serve your members. Join Credit Union Times now!

  • Free unlimited access to Credit Union Times' trusted and independent team of experts for extensive industry news, conference coverage, people features, statistical analysis, and regulation and technology updates.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Credit Union Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including TreasuryandRisk.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join Credit Union Times

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.