How ARHealthNetworks Benefits Small Employers (Commentary by Dwane Tankersley: Benefiting Arkansas)

by By Dwane Tankersley  on Monday, May. 5, 2008 12:00 am  

ARHealthNetworks is a limited benefit health plan for employers who don't currently offer a group plan to their employees. If a qualifying business chooses to participate, all employees are eligible for the coverage and must participate unless they provide evidence of other group health insurance coverage or individual health insurance coverage. Spouses of participating employees may also be eligible.

Premiums for low-income workers with annual earnings at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level will be subsidized using tobacco settlement funds and existing Medicaid dollars. All employees enrolled in the plan receive immediate benefits with no waiting period. Benefits are available to everyone in the group regardless of any pre-existing medical conditions.

Recent data indicates that more than 465,000 working Arkansans between the ages of 19 and 64 do not have health insurance. One of the primary reasons employers are not offering coverage is the high cost of premiums. The concept for ARHealthNetworks was developed by the Arkansas Health Insurance Expansion Initiative Roundtable and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Health & Human Services. For more information on the history and development of ARHealthNetworks, visit

How Do Employees Sign Up?

ARHealthNetworks is offered to qualifying small businesses through licensed insurance agents in Arkansas. Employers should contact their current insurance agents to find out if they are appointed with NovaSys Health to sell ARHealthNetworks.  ARHealthNetworks is offered to employees only as a group plan through their employers and not as an individual policy.

Eligibility of Employers

ARHealthNetworks is available only to employers who have not offered a group health plan to their employees within the past 12 months or longer.

Employer group size must be a minimum of two and a maximum of 500 full-time (at least 30 hours per week) employees.

All full-time employees must participate in ARHealthNetworks coverage or have documented coverage under another group or individual health plan (for example, coverage under a spouse's plan).

At least one employee must qualify for subsidized premiums by having an annual household income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Eligibility of Employees

All employees who work more than 30 hours per week on average are considered full-time and will be offered coverage.



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