N Carolina budget gets final OK quickly signed by Cooper

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Senate Republicans are offering their own solution to help North Carolina small businesses offer reasonably-priced health insurance that includes many state and federal coverage requirements.

Their measure filed Tuesday would help loosen restrictions for what are called “Association Health Plans,” thanks in part to a U.S. Labor Department ruling last year.

Under the legislation, these plans would be expanded so companies, sole proprietorships and the self-employed could band together for health insurance with leverage similar to larger companies. The bill also would allow businesses of different industries and across state borders to be in the same plan.

Bill co-sponsor Sen. San Bishop of Charlotte says consumer protections include a pre-existing condition coverage mandate.

The senators cite a congressional report suggesting the proposal could benefit up to 110,000 North Carolina residents.

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