The Massachusetts Senate has passed a bill aimed at cutting health insurance costs for small businesses.
The bill allows companies with 50 or fewer workers to form cooperatives, helping them purchase health insurance at lower costs. It also requires insurance companies to justify any hikes in premiums.
In addition, the legislation contains a provision that requires wealthier hospitals to make a $100 million contribution to insurance carriers, which could lower premiums by 2.5 percent in the short term.
Small business would also be encouraged to create wellness programs to keep workers from getting sick.
The bill now moves to the House for consideration.
The high cost of insurance in the state had been a major concern to small business owners in the state. The Cape Cod Times reports that a survey by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts found that its members had expected costs to go up this year if legislation wasn’t passed.
Massachusetts lawmakers have recently proposed a number of regulations aimed to help existing small businesses and encourage entrepreneurs interested in forming a company. State treasurer Timothy Cahill and Governor Deval Patrick have both proposed small business tax cuts to help create jobs.
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