Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/17/2003 11:45 AM Senate STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
        HB  10-GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE FOR PRIVATE GROUPS                                                                    
HELEN BEDDER,  staff to Representative Cheryll  Heinze, introduced                                                              
the legislation and  explained it would help provide  coverage for                                                              
more  than 100,000  Alaskans that  have no  health care  coverage.                                                              
Current statute  defines eligible group types for  which insurance                                                              
companies  may   offer  coverage.  Groups  that   are  formed  for                                                              
insurance   services  aren't  currently   listed  and   therefore,                                                              
insurance companies may not offer  coverage to that group type. HB
10 amends  the statute  and allows  self employed individuals  and                                                              
groups  of  employers,  including  non-profits, to  pool  for  the                                                              
purpose of obtaining health insurance.                                                                                          
SENATOR GRETCHEN GUESS  said it is her understanding  that certain                                                              
non-profits might  have employees  with higher health  care needs,                                                              
which  could lead  to  difficulty in  insurance  pooling. If  that                                                              
proves  to  be  the  case,  mental  health  [Mental  Health  Trust                                                              
Authority] has said they would help in the pooling.                                                                             
MS. BEDDER agreed  that insurance companies have  been hesitant to                                                              
talk to  non-profits, but  HB 10 shows  the need for  some action.                                                              
She said  she didn't  know how the  Mental Health Trust  Authority                                                              
might be  used, but they have  committed at least $45,000  to help                                                              
the non-profits get affordable insurance.                                                                                       
SENATOR  FRED DYSON  said he appreciates  the  work that has  been                                                              
done  in this area  and hopes  it will  be a  significant part  of                                                              
solving a large problem.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  GUESS made  a  motion to  move HB  10  and attached  zero                                                              
fiscal note from committee with individual  recommendations. There                                                              
being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                          

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