“We came away with three main pieces of legislation to discuss,” said Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack, R-Syracuse. “One we looked at was how to get individuals and small businesses affordable insurance.”
Killpack said the group came up with a viable Internet portal so individuals can shop for insurance by comparing costs.
“We have to make sure insurance companies all participate,” said Killpack. “There are some incentives to encourage them to take part like removal of some current mandates. But to make it truly market driven the information needs to be accessible and understandable.”
Another part of the plan would be to offer employees who leave their current companies a “mini-COBRA” option to bridge coverage between employers. “It would allow for a stripped down version that could be converted to a longer plan after a year.”
The plan would have fewer mandates, allowing a cost reduction and for those choosing a high deductible option, would trim cost even more.
Those who are self-employed will get a break through the new bill proposal by changing the “small group” classification of two or more employees to that of one, providing access to “guaranteed issue” plan coverage for individuals no matter their health history.
Killpack said the task force also wants to limit the mounds of paperwork that follows any medical procedure.
“It just adds confusion to the consumer,” he said. “You go to the hospital and get piles of paperwork that says ‘do not pay.’ There is just a lot of garbage you receive after a procedure. We want to get all interested parties together and come up with a way to lower the overhead cost to help the consumer. We are really relying on those parties to come up with that.”
The bill also calls for some preference to state contracts that reach a specified dollar amount to offer health insurance to the employees for the extent of the project. Those who don’t comply could face penalties.
Throughout the process of reform, the committee has focused on issues such as transparency in health care cost and services, personal responsibility and providing health coverage for every Utahn.
“The next step is to get feedback on these bills and possibly even vote on it before the session,” said Killpack. “We want to get them in the best form to present to the Legislature. Then these bills will be voted on like any bill.”