Ga. Senate Bill 174, allowing small companies to offer employees pared-down health plans that do not comply with all state-mandated insurance requirements has been approved by the House of Representatives. The Senate passed a different version of the bill on March 10, so it now goes back to the Senate for final approval.
The bill, estimated to save 10 to 15 percent on health insurance costs for small businesses and their employees will:
∙ Give small businesses a break in paying for their employees’ health insurance;
∙ Make health insurance more affordable for small businesses; and
∙ Encourage more small businesses to offer health insurance to their employees.
The original version of SB 174 eliminated coverage from some preventative screenings, but most of those measures were restored in amended versions of the bill.
SB 174 will give employees a choice between a traditional plan, with full coverage under the existing state mandates; or a new plan offering less benefits at a lower cost. State regulations only apply to employers with less than 50 employees and large self-insured employers are exempt from the regulations. It will allow insurance plans to stop covering specialties, such as psychology and acupuncture, while requiring a physician referral to see a dermatologist.
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