WEEKLY LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
On Friday, Governor Kelly announced HB 2209, the bill authorizing Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB) member health plans and expanding access to Association Health Plans (AHPs) will be allowed to become law without her signature. This legislation passed the House with a vote of 84-39 and the Senate with 28-12.
Kansas Farm Bureau Member Health Plans. This bill includes measures authorizing the Kansas Farm Bureau to develop healthcare benefit coverage for Farm Bureau members in Kansas in response to KFB members asking for relief from onerous health care costs.
Those who stand to gain the most are Kansans without access to a group insurance plan and making at or above 300 percent of the federal poverty level as these individuals don't qualify for any subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. Typically, these individuals are buying their own individual coverage or are uninsured. Note: anyone can join the Kansas Farm Bureau for only $50. An agricultural background is not required.
Association Health Plans. Expanded availability of Association Health Plans was brought about by an executive order signed by President Trump in 2017. HB 2209 changes the regulation of AHPs and small employer plans.
These provisions would, among other things, remove a membership limitation placed on AHPs requiring the association have at least 25 members, employees or employees of members to be offered group coverage.
Association health plans will offer the most coverage and likely have the broadest financial impact. By adding to several association health plans which have been grandfathered in, Kansas small businesses will have more options to offer their employees health insurance.
The legislature is still adjourned for break and will return to Topeka on May 1 to wrap up the session.
NFIB Shows Small Business Optimism High, Posting Modest Increase.
Inc. Magazine reported "data from the National Federation of Independent Business's (NFIB's) quarterly Small Business Economic Trends report" indicated that "a net 41 percent of business owners expected business conditions to keep improving" in January 2018.
At NFIB.com, NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan is quoted as saying, "Small business owners continue to create jobs, expand their operations, and are enjoying strong sales. Since Congress resolved the shutdown, uncertainty has declined as small business owners add jobs, increase sales, and invest in their businesses and employees."