NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 21, 2006

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) on Wednesday unveiled a new health insurance program he said will allow small-business owners and their employees better access to medical coverage. The plan, called ARHealthNet, offers affordable medical benefits to those adults who work for a small business that hasn't offered health care coverage in the past year or longer.

  • Under the plan, federal dollars and money from the state's tobacco settlement will be used to subsidize the cost of insurance for small-business owners' lower-income workers.
  • The subsidies will go for workers with annual household incomes of 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level.
  • The employers then will cover all their employees.

Huckabee said he wasn't sure what the cost of the program will be for the state, but that it could fall between $20 million and $30 million:

  • The space in ARHealthNet is limited to 15,000 people until September 2008; after that, it will be expanded to 80,000 people.
  • The cost for the small businesses will vary from $30 to $300 per month for each employee, depending on the employee's income and number of dependents.
  • Employees will share the costs by paying deductibles, co-payments and possibly some premiums.

Source: Mark Friedman, "Arkansas Unveils New Health Insurance Plan For Small Businesses," Arkansas Business, December 20, 2006.

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