Offer affordable health benefits for uninsured employees of small businesses

The Harris County Healthcare Alliance, together with UnitedHealthcare and Community Health Choice, has launched the TexHealth Harris County 3-Share Plan, intended to offer affordable health benefits for uninsured employees of small businesses in the county.

The goals of the program are to increase the number of local workers with healthcare coverage, improve their well-being and access to care, and assist small businesses in remaining competitive with a healthy workforce.

The Harris County 3-Share Plan is an initiative of the Harris County Healthcare Alliance. The Alliance is one of six Texas community organisations, collectively known as the TexHealth Coalition, that are developing similar programs across the state. The Coalition was instrumental in fostering the success of Senate Bill 10, passed by the 80th Texas Legislature and signed by Governor Rick Perry to provide new health coverage options for low-wage workers.

The TexHealth Harris County 3-Share Plan is available through small employers who have not offered group health insurance in the past 12 months. Membership is limited to employers whose principal place of business is in Harris County, although their employees may reside outside county lines. Eligible employees (those who work at least 30 hours per week and receive a W-2 form) may opt for coverage through one of two benefit plans, Plan A through UnitedHealthcare or Plan B through Community Health Choice.

Randy Giles, CEO of UnitedHealthcare, South Texas, said: “UnitedHealthcare has long offered common-sense, tailored health benefit solutions for Houston-area businesses and more than one million of their employees and dependents. As we help launch the TexHealth Harris County 3-Share Plan, our team of professionals is excited to be part of this public-private partnership that will offer a unique health benefit option for currently uninsured small business employers and their employees.”

The Harris County 3-Share Plan provides employee-only benefits. The dependents of participating workers may be eligible for other low-cost healthcare coverage, such as the State of Texas Access Reform (STAR) Medicaid program or federally funded Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).