HB 795 (Hurst) and SB 235 (Barker): Association Health Plans
The key bill for the Realtor® community was the Association Health Plan legislation carried by Senator George Barker (Fairfax/Prince William) and Delegate Chris Hurst (Radford), this legislation would allow the Virginia Realtors® association to contract with an insurance carrier to offer insurance to Realtors®. As independent contractors, our members are currently forced to consider costly insurance plans which many say they cannot afford.
Over the past year, staff at the Virginia Realtors® worked to craft legislation that addressed the Administration’s concerns about such association plans. The legislation provides that individuals would not be denied coverage based solely on “pre-existing” conditions, that the Essential Health Benefits under the Affordable Care Act are included, and that a wide range of preventive services would be included. The Governor added a reenactment clause to the bill, meaning we would have to introduce the exact bill and have it passed again next year. In response, a Call-To-Action was sent out and 6,500 Realtors® responded by emailing their legislators. In addition, VAR and NVAR lobbyists undertook an intense lobbying campaign, asking legislators to reject the Governor’s reenactment clause. The effort was successful, and the bill has now been sent back to the Governor who can let the bill become law or veto it. Another Call-to-Action has been issued, asking members to email the Governor’s office. At this writing, we do not know what the Governor will do.