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Contact: Adam Joseph

March 23, 2011

Senators Williams & Gerratana Support Health Care Exchange Bill to Help Small Businesses

Senator President & Public Health Chair Senator Terry Gerratana say this is rare opportunity to help small businesses and employees gain access to affordable health care

One year after Congress passed the federal health care reform law (the Affordable Care Act or “ACA”), the General Assembly’s Public Health Committee is considering a bill that establishes a statewide health care exchange, a key component of the federal legislation.

Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn) submitted testimony to the committee in support of SB 1204, An Act Establishing The Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange. The Committee’s Senate Co-Chair, Senator Terry Gerratana (D-New Britain) is also supporting the proposal.

“The exchanges are marketplaces that promote competition and provide affordable, quality coverage options for individuals and small businesses,” said Senator Williams. The General Assembly is considering several exchange bills this legislative session. Senator Williams is focused on, “ . . . assuring that Connecticut’s Exchange is an attractive and effective alternative for our small businesses.”

“I agree with Senator Williams that this is a way for the state of Connecticut to help small businesses with health care costs,” said Senator Gerratana. “Competition is good and will help lower cost. Small businesses that may or may not have the kinds of opportunities in terms of products and price now will have multiple options in our state.”

SB 1204, An Act Establishing The Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange does the following:

  • Establishes a calculator to determine the actual cost of coverage after application of any premium tax credit
  • Creates a rating system that allows small employers to compare the value of health plans, and the establishment of a pre-tax medical premium payroll deduction for employees of small businesses.
  • Requires that the expertise of members of the Exchange Board include “small employer health insurance coverage.
  • Authorizes the board to consult with stakeholders, specifically including small employers.

The Commonwealth Fund reports that small employers pay higher administrative costs and overall greater per-employee costs for health insurance than larger employers. The nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates that about 60 percent of Americans living without health care work for small businesses.

“The Exchange offers us a rare opportunity to tackle this problem,” said Senator Williams. “I look forward to working with members of both Committees as you refine your proposals to maximize the effectiveness of Connecticut’s Exchange and assure a viable, cost-effective means for individuals and small businesses to obtain high quality health care coverage.”


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