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Introduced Version House Bill 3087 History

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hb3087 intr
H. B. 3087


(By Delegates Perdue, Hatfield, Williams, Boggs,
Wells, Paxton, Martin, Caputo,
Longstreth, Manchin and Palumbo)
[Introduced March 17, 2005; referred to the
Committee on Banking and Insurance then the Judiciary.]


A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-2-21, relating to the Insurance Commissioner; stating legislative findings; directing Commissioner to study ways to establish a program for purchasing health insurance benefits for uninsured workers; and requiring report of findings, recommendations and conclusions.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-2-21, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2. INSURANCE COMMISSIONER.
§33-2-21. Program for purchasing health insurance benefits for uninsured workers.

(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) One in five adults in West Virginia has no health insurance benefit;
(2) More than two thirds of these uninsured citizens work full time or are dependent on others who do;
(3) Lack of employment-based group health insurance benefits forces families and individuals to forego necessary medical treatment, ultimately resulting in the need for more intensive and costly services in the future because of the increased severity of an untreated condition, often at public expense due to bad debt and uncompensated care;
(4) The health of our state's economy is directly related to the health of our workers; and
(5) It is in the public interest and promotes the general welfare of our state for workers and their families to have access to and be able to afford health insurance coverage.
(b) The Commissioner is hereby directed to study ways to cover uninsured workers and their families through a plan whereby:
(1) Employers who do not otherwise provide group health insurance benefits to their workers and dependents would be assessed an amount sufficient to provide a percentage of the premium cost of covering those employees and dependents and employers who do provide such coverage would be exempt;
(2) Employers would be classified and pay a specified rate according to the size of their workforce, rates of employee participation and/or the amount of their payroll in this state;
(3) Workers would contribute a percentage of the premium cost for their coverage; and
(4) Subsidies funded by the assessment on employers who do not provide health insurance benefits to their workers would be made available to participating workers on a sliding scale based on coverage selected and income level.
The Commissioner shall also study potential participation rates, cost estimates and the amounts that employers and workers would each need to pay in order to achieve a viable product with affordable rates and reasonable coverage.
(c) The Commissioner is further directed to report his or her findings, conclusions and recommendations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance on or before the first day of September, two thousand five.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to direct the Insurance Commissioner to study and report on ways to establish a program for insuring uninsured workers.

§33-2-21 is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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