A Huge Win for Small Business

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On Monday April 11, 2022 during the afternoon Sine Die Session, the House of Delegates approved Senate Bill 632. The Senate had approved it on March 31. This action assures that the bill (setting up a Workgroup to design a Small Business/Nonprofit Health Insurance Subsidy program) will go to Governor Hogan’s desk for approval.

The Maryland Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives(MACCE) had determined, under 2022 Board Chair Bill Chambers’ leadership, that this legislation was to be a top priority for the 2022 Session. After many years of failing to advance legislation on Association Health Plans, MACCE worked with leaders in the House and Senate, as well as advocates like Maryland Healthcare for All, the NAACP of Maryland, and County Executives from the Big Eight counties, to advance HB709 and SB632.

Chairman Bill Chambers (President/CEO, Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce) and Vice Chair Rick Weldon (President/CEO, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce) both attended virtual and live Committee hearings and working meetings to advance these bills, in addition to meetings and calls with numerous members of the General Assembly.

Now, as the bills pass and the formal workgroup is empaneled, MACCE will have a seat at the table to work with others to create the subsidy program, and to empower the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange to document how the subsidies will be approved and paid to the carriers.  Small employers (10 and under) and nonprofits will be eligible to buy health insurance for their workers through the Exchange using valuable subsidies to reduce their cost. MAACE looks forward to the implementation of the subsidy program, and to a funding commitment of July 1, 2023, for the new subsidy program.

This is a major win for all the Chambers who sent letters, testified, and made calls to their legislators, and will be a major win for our small businesses and their employees across Maryland.

For more information about this legislation and the other advocacy efforts of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, contact Bill Chambers at 410-749-0144 x 101 or bchambers@salisburyarea.com.

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