San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 14th, 2009
County joins small business health plan

STAFF REPORT

The Hays County Commissioners Court voted this week to join Williamson County and the Travis County Healthcare District in providing start-up funding for a three-county program that would help small businesses offer their employees affordable health care.

Commissioners earlier this year declared their intent to support the pilot program, but waited until more details were available before approving the funds.

The $32,550 authorized by the court for the first year of funding will not be used for subsidizing premiums.

“Counties don’t get many opportunities to be this innovative and act out of the box,” Hays County Judge Liz Sumter (D-Wimberley) said. “By offering health care opportunities to our business community, we help small businesses be more competitive while reducing the number of uninsured residents in our county. It’s a win-win-win situation – it’s good for small businesses, good for employees and ultimately good for taxpayers.”

The program, based on an existing program in the Galveston area and expected to be self-sustaining financially by the end of its third year of operation, is designed to help businesses with between two and fifty employees provide basic healthcare coverage for an average of $245 per employee per month.

The goal is to obtain as many as 2,500 insured persons in the tri-county area within three years and help relieve county-subsidized health programs. County officials say offerings of health care for employees of small businesses can help Hays County remain competitive in attracting and retaining small companies.

The agreement with TexHealth Central Texas, a community-based non-profit group formed by the entities involved, includes no more than $36,401 and $18,620 for operational expenses in its second and third year, respectively, from Hays County.

For more information about the program or to see if your business qualifies, call TexHealth at (877) 704-0111, visit http://www.texhealthcentraltex.org/, or talk to a local provider.

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0 thoughts on “County joins small business health plan

  1. Having paid for my own health insurance in the past, this sounds like it could be very good for small businesses in our area. Kudos for thinking outside the box. I look forward to learning more about the program.

  2. This is a blessing for the mom and pop companies out there, me and my family being one of them. I only wish that the coverage was a slightly better or there were “coverage level” choices and you simply pay more or less depending on the level selected. All in all it is a good thing and I thank the county for offering it.

  3. Almost three years ago, the Kyle Area Chamber Board of Directors asked that we seek out innovative solutions to assist the small business community with the increasing cost of providing healthcare to employees. This program provides very limited access but for those that have no access it opens the door to Healthcare.

    The program is open for our local insurance agents to sell after they go through a certification process. James I. Rodriguez, FACHE Executive Director and myself met with some local insurance agents recently about how they can get involved. We encourage more agents and small businesses to get involved. This program is only open to companies that do not already provide access to Healthcare for their employees. Myers Construction is the first company to participate in Hays County. We thank Hays County for their commitment to partnering on innovative solutions for the small business community.

    Ray Hernandez
    TexHealth Central Texas
    Board Member

  4. Having served on the TexHealth Central Texas Board since its inception, and having worked to brign this plan to Hays County for over two years now, I can tell you, this has been an effort by a lot of folks in our tri county region who have worked diligently to find a practical solution to affordable healthcare for working families in Central Texas. I would like to than Representative Patrick Rose for alerting me to this group’s efforts two years ago and encouraging me to serve our constituents by helping to bring this program to Hays County. Also, a special thanks to Gary Jepson, CTMC for helping me ensure that our residents can find care in their own home town. A great effort by a lot of folks and the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce was proud to be a part of this effort!

    Phyllis Snodgress
    TexHealth Central Texas
    Board Member
    President, San Marcos Chamber of Commerce

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