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Mass. Senate Approves Bill To Ease Small Business Insurance Premiums

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 5/24/2010

Small businesses in Massachusetts could soon see lowered insurance premiums thanks to newly passed legislation.

The Massachusetts Senate has approved a bill that would require wealthier hospitals to contribute to easing insurance premiums for small businesses, the Associated Press reports. The hospitals would have to make a one-time $100 million contribution.

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The bill's approval could be good news for small business owners in the state looking to buy insurance - it would allow companies with 50 or fewer employees to form cooperatives to purchase insurance at lower cost. Insurers would also be pressured to spend at least 90 percent of premium dollars on care and 10 percent or less on administrative costs.

Senate President Therese Murray said the bill will require insurers to offer affordable insurance plans to small businesses while smoothing out fluctuations in premiums from year to year and easing instability in the insurance market. The bill would also encourage small businesses to adopt wellness program to keep employees healthy.

The push for wellness programs is also being spurred by a provision of the new healthcare reform legislation.
Under the provision, companies with fewer than 100 employees that implement new wellness programs can qualify for grants from the Department of Health and Human Services.

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