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State Sen. Vin Gopal. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.

Gopal urges delay of banking department rule

Rule change could strip small businesses of health coverage, senator warns

By Nikita Biryukov, October 10 2019 1:29 pm

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State Sen. Vin Gopal asked Gov. Phil Murphy and his banking commissioner, Marine Caride, to halt a rule change that may impact how small business owners get health insurance.

A rule change proposed by the Department of Banking and Insurance would change the definition of “small employer” to exclude sole proprietorships, partnerships, husband-wife, or parent-child businesses that do not have at least one other employee.

The rule change would also preclude owners or the direct family members of owners from qualifying as eligible employees for insurance purposes.

I believe that, if issued, this regulation would cause thousands of small businesses to lose their access to affordable health benefits coverage, harming families, employees, and entrepreneurs across New Jersey,” Gopal said.

In New Jersey, small businesses can purchase health insurance through multiple-employer welfare associations.

The rules change could bar certain small businesses from purchasing health insurance through such an association, Gopal said.

“I am also strongly concerned that this proposal would not only harm New Jersey’s critical small business sector, but that it also wrongfully and unintentionally penalizes the Garden State’s community of mom-and-pop stores,” Gopal said. “Under this proposed regulation, two unmarried individuals operating a small business would be able to apply for and obtain insurance through AMT, but a married couple operating an identical company would be barred from doing so.”

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