NC small biz insurance strategy nearing legislative finish line

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A method designed to help North Carolina small businesses offer more affordable health insurance is one vote away from final legislative approval.

The measure developing the rules for “Association Health Plans” will return to the Senate after clearing the House this week.

The plans could be formed by trade groups and organizations with common interests so small companies, sole proprietorships and independent contractors could obtain insurance. State insurance regulators would subject plans to financial and coverage standards, such as treating pre-existing conditions.

The idea has been pushed by groups such as the NC Realtors and the state Retail Merchants Association.

Almost 20 House Democrats joined all Republicans in voting Wednesday for the legislation. If the Senate agrees to changes, the measure would head next to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.

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