Senator Tommy Williams
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0104

February 18, 2003
Contact: Janet Stieben
(512) 463-0104, (281) 296-0023

Senator Williams Files 'Consumer Choice' Health Insurance Bill

Legislation Allows Affordable Coverage

Austin, TX - Today, Senator Tommy Williams filed the Texas Consumer Choice Health Insurance Act aimed at making affordable health insurance plans available to thousands of Texas families and small businesses.

"Many families, self employed individuals, and small business owners have been squeezed out of the private insurance market. Senate Bill 541 allows insurance carriers to issue health insurance policies without all of the costly mandates required under state law," stated Williams. "Its thrust is simple - carriers will be able to design and consumers will be able to purchase policies without the costly mandates now required by state law."

Texas is among the states with the highest number of mandated benefits.

"These costly mandates have produced the second highest percentage of working uninsured in the nation. No doubt the high premiums resulting from these mandates have priced thousands of people out of the market," said Williams.

Insurance companies would be required to disclose to the consumer when mandated benefits are excluded from a "Consumer Choice" policy.

"My goal in filing this legislation is to allow consumers a choice in what their health insurance policy covers. Texas mandates have priced many folks out of the market- thousands, possibly millions of Texans don't have an affordable choice and their only option is to go without coverage."