Senator Smith and Liberman propose small business health plan

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On Wednesday, Oregon Senator Gordon Smith and Senator Jospeh Liberman (CT) introduced the Affordable Coverage for Small Employers Act which aims to help small business owners provide health care coverage. Here are some of the key provisions as listed in the Senator’s joint statement:
·         Requires the development of an affordable, comprehensive standard benefit package that will be available nationally.  This benefit package mirrors the health care benefits available to Members of Congress and other federal employees.
·         Creates regional health care exchanges that will develop common rating or “beneficiary premium costs” guidelines that may not include health status as a factor, nor impose waiting periods or exclude coverage of pre-existing conditions.
·         Allows regional health care exchanges to expand coverage to sole proprietors, individuals and larger employers.
·         Provides advanceable, refundable tax credits to working families to help offset the cost of health coverage.
·         Provides tax credits to small employers who contribute to their employees’ health insurance premiums.