Senate Republicans look to protect companies that self insure

A group of Senate Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), introduced legislation Wednesday that would protect businesses that self-insure their employees. 

The Republicans argue the Obama administration has “signaled interest” in changing the rules on how those companies cover the cost of large medical bills when self insuring their workers. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Some companies cover the cost of healthcare for their workers rather than helping to offset the premiums of employee health plans. Smaller businesses that self-insure employees also buy “stop loss” insurance that protects against huge medical bills from piling up. 

The bill aims to make sure “stop loss” insurance is allowed to continue as normal. If not, Republicans say, some workers would be forced onto the newly created healthcare exchanges. 

Nine other Republicans signed onto the measure: Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderA guide to the committees: Senate Overnight Healthcare: Trump officials weigh fate of birth control mandate | House, DOJ seek delay in ObamaCare lawsuit House, Justice Department ask for delay in ObamaCare lawsuit MORE (R-Tenn.), Jim RischJim RischA guide to the committees: Senate Ryan tries to save tax plan Senate GOP votes to silence Warren after speech against Sessions MORE (R-Idaho), Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio brushes off demonstrator asking about town halls A guide to the committees: Senate Schumer: GOP will break from Trump within months MORE (R-Fla.), John BoozmanJohn BoozmanA guide to the committees: Senate GOP considers ways to ‘modernize’ endangered species law GOP senators unveil bill to give Congress control of consumer bureau budget MORE (R-Ark.), John BarrassoJohn BarrassoBig Pharma must address high drug prices A guide to the committees: Senate Making transportation public-private partnerships available in rural America MORE (R-Wyo.), Tom CoburnTom CoburnCoburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential The road ahead for America’s highways Rethinking taxation MORE (R-Okla.), John CornynJohn CornynCornyn: Border wall 'makes absolutely no sense' in some areas Ryan on border: ‘We will get this done’ Ryan tours Mexican border on horseback MORE (R-Texas), Mike CrapoMike CrapoA guide to the committees: Senate Time for the feds to deregulate gun suppressors Senate votes to repeal transparency rule for oil companies MORE (R-Idaho) and Mike EnziMike EnziA guide to the committees: Senate GOP senators unveil bill to give Congress control of consumer bureau budget Grizzlies, guns, and games of gotcha: How the left whiffed on Betsy DeVos MORE (R-Wyo.).

"Any effort by the Obama administration to change the rules on companies that self-insure will break the president's promise to millions more hardworking Americans,” said Alexander, who is the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. 

“No matter if they like their employer's health care plans, many won't be able to keep them."

Self-insurance is used by the majority of large-scale companies and less popular among smaller businesses, which tend to need “stop loss” insurance. 

Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) introduced a similar bill in the House last week. It would “clarify existing law to ensure that federal regulators cannot re-define stop-loss insurance as traditional ‘health insurance.’ ”

Cassidy clarified that no rule making process has yet been announced by the Obama administration to redefine it.