HARRISBURG – Allegheny County Rep. Valerie Gaydos introduced a bill to provide a mechanism for small business employers to join together to offer quality health insurance as a benefit to their employees. House Bill 555 would require that a group or association health plan being offered is fully insured, provides essential health benefits, and protects small businesses and employees. The association health plan coverage would be guaranteed issued and renewable, prohibiting denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition, providing essential health benefits and plans comparable to the Affordable Care Act or ACA plans. Prior to the enactment of the ACA, many companies, trade association members, and non-profits were allowed to pool together for health care, but the ACA made that prohibitive. Federal law and regulations currently do not allow small businesses in an association to be treated as a large employer and restores the right of small businesses to group together. The bill has been referred to the House Insurance Committee for consideration.