Arkansas Unveils Health Care Plan for Small Companies

December 21, 2006 ( - Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has unveiled a plan to use the state's tobacco settlement funds and federal dollars to offer medical benefits to workers at small businesses unable to provide affordable health care coverage on their own.

The ARHealthNet will be available to all employees of all qualified small businesses and will be supported by state tobacco settlement funds and federal dollars for workers with an annual household income of 200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline or less.

“Using federal and state dollars, ARHealthNet helps employers cover the cost of insurance for their lower income employees, said John Selig, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services, in a statement . “In return, employers agree to cover their entire workforce. It’s a great partnership that really stretches our tobacco settlement dollars to meet a pressing need.”

Employers can begin enrolling workers right away, with employee benefits beginning in January of 2007.

NovaSys Health is administering the program for the state. Employers can contact NovaSys Health at (800) 540-7566 or by going to .

In September, Massachusetts passed a law that required employers with 11 employees or less to contribute to employee health plans (SeeMA Employers Required to Cover Health Care ).