Are We On the Road to Victory?
by CUAD Communications
2/7/2019

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night

 

That may be the postman’s motto, but this week it was the motto for Credit Union Association of the Dakotas as our President/CEO Jeff Olson made his way to Pierre and home again to attend the hearing on SB 37. Severe winter weather and restricted travel advisories nearly prevented him from getting there; however, in anticipation of the worst of conditions, Olson traveled the night before so he could be on location for the important hearing that took place yesterday. As he made his way home to Bismarck yesterday afternoon, the photo above shows the road conditions on Hwy 83 during his return drive. It was slow going with slippery conditions, but as Olson said, “I’ve seen worse many times!”

 

The extra efforts paid off. We are thrilled to report that credit unions in South Dakota are one step closer to more affordable employee healthcare options! SB 37 sailed through the House Commerce and Energy Committee with unanimous a “Do Pass” vote of 13 – 0.

 

Yesterday’s hearing was in front of the same House Commerce and Energy Committee that narrowly rejected a similar bill sponsored by CUAD last year. This year, the South Dakota Division of Insurance re-introduced what is essentially the same bill. The bill has been added to the House Calendar for final consideration later today, scheduled at 2:00 p.m. CT.

 

SB 37 amends and modernizes the state’s current statutes relating to Association Health Plans, providing a waiver process to open the CUAD Health Benefits Trust to our South Dakota affiliated Credit Unions and their employees. In his testimony yesterday, Olson alluded to the exemption language in Section 7, Chapter 58-18 of the bill which provides our CUAD Health Benefits Trust (and others like ours) the opportunity to request a waiver from the Director of Insurance. The Director could then grant us the authority to offer our Credit Union Health Benefits Trust if we meet all the South Dakota financial requirements in statute, as well as those in North Dakota.

 

The Bill passed with unanimous support in the South Dakota State Senate in mid-January, and it is likely that the Governor Noem could sign SB 37 by next week.

 

The Credit Union Association of the Dakotas Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA) Association Health Benefits program is a $5.5 million-dollar health benefits trust that currently has 20 North Dakota credit unions participating and offers health insurance to over 1,100 credit union employees and their families in North Dakota.

 

Please note: In a related article in today’s Memo, we have issued an important Action Alert! Now is the time for credit union advocates to ask their representatives to VOTE YES on SB 37. Our Grassroots Action Center is ready so you can do this quickly and easily. Just click here

 

 

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