SIIA Protests to House Panel:
Don't Undercut Self-Insurance 

            WASHINGTON, D.C.The Self-Insurance Institute of America, Inc. (SIIA) today protested to Congress that a slanted study of self-insured employee health plans and a tax on self-insured plans – both embedded in a House healthcare reform bill – would undercut the employer-based healthcare system.
            “It is clear that the intent of this provision is to find fault with self-insured health plans despite their demonstrated success in providing quality health coverage to nearly 70 million Americans,” wrote Mike Ferguson, chief operating officer of SIIA.
            As part of a healthcare reform bill, the House Education and Labor Committee yesterday proposed a study on self-insured plans that seeks, among other information, “To make recommendations to ensure against incentives for small and mid-size employers to self-insure.”
            “Self-insurance should be a model for reform (rather than) targeted for limitation,” Ferguson wrote in the letter addressed to Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, and Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), chair of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions.
            “In a time when small businesses are struggling to provide coverage to their employees, Congress should not be seeking to take away their only affordable option – self-insuring. Self-insurance has numerous advantages and is already strictly regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor.
            “We respectfully ask in the strongest possible terms that you consider removing the proposed study on self-insured health plans as it would unfairly target a significant portion of our healthcare system that currently is working,” Ferguson’s letter stated.
            The tax proposed on self-insured health plans – called a “fair share fee” to support best practices healthcare research – would punish those employers that are “doing the right thing” by providing their employees healthcare coverage, SIIA contends.