While North Carolina has been recognized as a top state for business, there’s one critical component to the state’s competitive economy that is sorely lagging – health care value. For years, North Carolina’s health care costs have been on the rise, while health outcomes remain below average. To upend this backwards value proposition, the NC Chamber has been working to bring value-driven health care to North Carolina.
As outlined in the NC Chamber’s 2019 Legislative Agenda, association health plans (AHPs) could be instrumental in advancing health care value. If done right, AHPs could be an effective tool used to offer more affordable, high-quality health care options for North Carolinians. With legislation making its way through the General Assembly that would authorize the formation of AHPs, the NC Chamber commissioned a feasibility study to better understand what an AHP could like in the state. The study included several recommendations, which included a two-pronged strategy that allowed, in part, for employers with 50 employees or less to participate in a plan. You can find the executive summary of that study here.
The NC Chamber has maintained that any changes to the laws governing AHPs should protect against the formation of the “junk plans” that took root in the state just a couple of decades ago. It is equally important that changes to the law do not reduce insurance coverage options, nor undermine the Affordable Care Act. Our government affairs team recently shared the executive summary of our feasibility study with House and Senate leadership, as well as the bill sponsors of both House and Senate bills. After legislators made various changes to Senate Bill 86: Small Business Health Care Act, the NC Chamber now supports the legislation.
Going forward, the NC Chamber will continue to support carefully drafted policy that establishes the necessary guardrails to protect consumers, while allowing for the creation of more affordable, high-quality coverage options in the marketplace. In the days and weeks ahead, our team will continue working with aligned stakeholders and legislators to implement a solution that enables the creation of reliable, effective AHPs that drive value and improve North Carolina’s competitive advantage.
Gary J. Salamido
Chief Operating Officer and Acting President