Del. Tony Wilt introduces legislation for affordable healthcare option

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 3:31 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) - Delegate Tony Wilt, representative of Virginia’s 26th District, introduced legislation Tuesday to allow for a health plan option that could provide more affordable access to healthcare for many small businesses and their employees.

Delegate Wilt backed similar legislation in 2019 and Democratic legislators took the lead in the two previous years.

While the policy was met with broad bipartisan support in the legislature, Governor Ralph Northam had rejected the plan. With a new governor come Saturday, Delegate Wilt says he is hoping to get the bill across the finish line this year.

“This bill opens up an opportunity for coverage for many who currently have no option under the crushing premium increases we have seen in recent years. Small businesses want to provide robust benefits and take care of their employees, but with the inflationary pressures we are experiencing this continues to be a challenge,” said Wilt. “In the most recent campaign I committed to pursue this solution again if reelected, and today I’m making good on that promise.”

“Small businesses continue to struggle to find affordable health coverage options for their employees. This legislation will provide Virginia’s small businesses with an additional option for quality, more affordable health coverage through a shared risk pool with other small businesses,” said Virginia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Barry DuVal. “The Virginia Chamber applauds this innovative, bipartisan effort and thanks both Del. Wilt and Sen. Mason for carrying their companion bills that will improve access to quality health coverage for small business workers.”

The legislation expands the opportunity for small businesses to join under a Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA).

A MEWA is a self-funded benefits consortium of small employers that pool together to offer their employees comprehensive, affordable group health care coverage on terms similar to those available to large employers.

The bill includes a number of safeguards to ensure minimum coverage requirements and solvency of the plans.

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