Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Applauding Vetoes

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Applauding Vetoes

As Virginia's Spring legislative session wound down Governor Northam vetoed three healthcare bills. What isn't clear about these bi-partisan bills intended to expand insurance access is what they really entail. Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs) and Association Health Plans (AHPs) have been around for decades long before Obamacare. As an insurance broker I became aware of them shortly after I entered the business. There was an AHP called the National Association for the Self Employed (N.A.S.E.) that was aggressively marketed. I was approached to represent it only to find that they were being pursued by attorneys general in 19 states for illegalities in marketing and failure to pay claims. MEWAs likewise have a history of these same kinds of practices of fraud and abuse. Among other deficiencies these plans bypass regulation by the Virginia State Corporation Commission Bureau of Insurance. They are much like the "Trumpcare" plans that fail to provide ACA mandated benefits. Sometimes called "Skinny Plans" that are less expensive because they omit essential benefits, including annual and lifetime maximums and can be non-renewed or canceled at the whim of the insurance company. The non-profit Commonwealth Institute applauds Governor Northam's vetoes. Since 2019 small family businesses and Self Employed have been recognized as one-life business entities entitled to Small Group plans that are ACA compliant. So there really isn't any need for these substandard MEWAs and AHPs.

Archer Jordan