As the country explores health care reform, state Rep. Spencer Swalm, R-Centennial, is working on his own affordable health care and insurance plans …
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As the country explores health care reform, state Rep. Spencer
Swalm, R-Centennial, is working on his own affordable health care
and insurance plans for small businesses and the uninsured.
Similar to last year, Swalm is working on a state House bill
that would require small employers in the state to offer limited
health care coverage to their employees.
House Bill 1143 establishes two limited health benefit plan
options, each of which includes an annual cap on the total amount
of benefits available to covered persons, and caps on the amount of
benefits available for specified health care services provided
during the plan year.
The bill doesn’t define in exact terms what the HMO plan would
do, but does put a cap between $35,000 to $50,000 on annual
benefits — which would cover the vast majority of claims, according
House Bill 1143 is aimed at low-income working people who simply
can’t afford insurance.
“We’ve got to have an affordable plan that low-income working
people can buy with the help of their employer,” Swalm said.
“Limited-benefit plans have been looked upon as sort of
disreputable. But the whole theory behind the bill is that some
insurance is better than no insurance at all.”
Many uninsured individuals in the state are gainfully employed
but are not offered an employer-sponsored health benefit plan or
are unable to purchase affordable health care coverage in the
health insurance market, according to the lawmaker and insurance
salesman. Swalm’s Redstone Benefits Systems sells health insurance
to small and medium-sized businesses.
Given the small group health benefit plans currently available
in the market, many small-businesses owners in the state are unable
to offer or contribute to the costs of employer-sponsored health
benefit plans currently available in the market.
The large number of uninsured individuals in the state imposes a
strain on the health care system and, in particular, hospital
emergency departments that are obligated to treat patients,
regardless of their ability to pay for the treatment.
Hospitals and other health care providers who treat the
uninsured are faced with growing costs related to the uncompensated
care provided to the uninsured.
Last year, Swalm’s similar bill that would have required
insurance companies to offer a new category of limited-benefit
insurance plans to the uninsured was killed in committee on a
party-line vote. Annual caps for the plan would have been set at
between $50,000 and $100,000.
Swalm also is working on another bill that would lower the age
limit for giving blood donations from 18 to 16. This bill supports
the health care system also, according to Swalm.
Bonfils Blood Bank estimates that an additional 3,000 donors
would participate if the age limit was lowered.
Swalm, who donates blood regularly, was recently awarded by
Bonfils Blood Bank for donating nearly 8 gallons.
In addition to working on health care, Swalm is developing a
bill to encourage appropriate development near airports.
“The positive economic impact of aviation on the Colorado
economy is enormous,” Swalm said in a written statement.
“Unfortunately, airports are under constant threat of closure from
incompatible residential encroachment and development.”
Swalm’s bill would require new residential developments to
provide clearly written and prominent disclosures to buyers if the
prospective home will be subjected to noise levels from nearby
military or civilian airports.
Developers, Realtors or property owners would be obligated to
provide the sound disclosure notice, in writing, at both the time
of signing the sales contract and at closing. Similar notices would
be required to be prominently displayed in any associated real
estate sales office, according to Swalm.
The intent of the bill is to encourage the kind of appropriate
development, such as industrial or commercial, that’s more
compatible with the inevitable noise that comes with the presence
of a nearby airport.
“It’s vital that we take steps to protect Colorado airports from
the type of inappropriate residential development and encroachment
that threatens both their existence and their ability to provide
the countless good jobs that rely on aviation’s continued
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