If similar proposals being considered in both chambers of the Legislature advance, Alabama small business owners could be facing increased healthcare premiums.
Under Senate Bill 164, introduced by Sen. Tom Whatley, Alabama businesses with 51 or more employees would be required to include coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorder treatment in employee health benefit plans. House Bill 284, introduced by Rep. Jim Patterson, would mandate that all health benefit plans cover autism treatment. HB 284 would also apply to public employees and county, city, and public authority healthcare plans. The estimated cost is more than $22 million per year. At this writing, both bills have been read once and referred to each chamber’s Committee on Insurance.
Similar proposals have been introduced in the past, but have not passed the Alabama Legislature. NFIB/AL members have also consistently voted to oppose any additional healthcare coverage mandates because of the impact on their already skyrocketing healthcare costs.
NFIB/AL has requested public hearings for both SB 164 and HB 284.