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

August 15th, 2009
Hays helps fund startup of small business health insurance program

SUBMITTED REPORT

The Hays County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday 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.

The court earlier this year had declared its 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,” said County Judge Elizabeth Sumter. “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. In addition, the ability of a small business to offer health care to its employees 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 information about the program or to see if your business qualifies, please call call TexHealth at 1-877-704-0111, visit http://www.texhealthcentraltex.org/ or talk to a local provider.

— FROM HAYS COUNTY/LAUREEN CHERNOW

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2 thoughts on “Hays helps fund startup of small business health insurance program

  1. While all this seems like a good deal for the fine people of Texas once you take a closer look at the Health Plan it is not what it is all cracked up to be.

    First this is not an insurance policy and is not regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance meaning that no one is montering the financial stability of this plan.

    The second major problem is that the “PLAN” has a $100,000 cap on all medical expenses in any one given year and with a $1,000 cap on outpatient prescription drugs.With these two benefits alone if one of the plan members has a major medical event then this plan can leave a member refusal of treatment in a private hospital.Apparently the TexHealth Coalition did not do any research on the actual cost of treating a major health problem like cancer.The main reason people cover themselves with health insurance is to insure that they receive the treatment that they need as well as not bankrupting them if they are faced with $500,000 worth of cancer treatment. Refer to this article, http://businessweekthursday.com/magazine/content/04_37/b3899076_mz021.htm

    Scott Thiltgen is the owner of one of the most affordable sites to compare Houston Life Insurance in real time instant rates. You can view his website at Texas Life Insurance

  2. Yea…tell that to your plan members when they want to be treated at a private hospital….there is no room in the market for limited health plans…..

    http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB120934207044648511.html?mod=2_1566_topbox

    LAKE JACKSON, Texas — When Lisa Kelly learned she had leukemia in late 2006, her doctor advised her to seek urgent care at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. But the nonprofit hospital refused to accept Mrs. Kelly’s limited insurance. It asked for $105,000 in cash before it would admit her.

    Sitting in the hospital’s business office, Mrs. Kelly says she told M.D. Anderson’s representatives that she had some money to pay for treatment, but couldn’t get all the cash they asked for that day. “Are they going to send me home?” she recalls thinking. “Am I going to die?”

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