Business health care concerns will be main trade show topic

September 12, 1994|By Shirley Leung | Shirley Leung,Sun Staff Writer

Organizers of Expo '94 hope the county's biggest trade show will bring the business community together for a day of discussing health care and problems that small companies face in getting health insurance.

"We have heard horror stories in which the insurance rates have been unusually steep," said Jeffrey A. Flick, president of New American Health Inc., a subsidiary of the North Arundel Health System. "This is a major concern for the business community, especially small businesses."

The 10th annual exhibition, sponsored by the Anne Arundel Trade Council, will be held today at the BWI Marriott. About 1,500 people attended the exhibition last year.

Mr. Flick, who will be one of the panelists, also expects the state's year-old health benefits law to spark discussion. Under the law, insurers must offer health benefits to small companies with two to 50 employees.

"It's a little too early to have a firm read" on the law, said Mr. Flick. "We're hearing more favorable reaction. [The law] certainly helps small-business people to get into the market place."

U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Third District Democrat and a member of a House health subcommittee, will start the day-long series of seminars with a discussion on national health care legislation.

Later in the day a panel will focus on health care issues for small businesses in Maryland.

"The major concern is [businesses'] ability to secure insurance they can rely on and that is within their budget," said Mr. Flick.

The seminars are part of the trade council's continuing efforts to keep business leaders abreast of health care issues, said Carol A. Dreyfuss, the trade council spokeswoman. The council publishes columns on health care reform in its monthly newsletter and distributes brochures on the state's standard health benefits plan.

In addition to discussions on health reform issues, a pediatrician, hypnotherapist and a plastic surgeon will give presentations. About 85 exhibitors, representing a cross-section of county companies, are expected to have booths.

The event runs from 10:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m. A $5 fee covers the cost of the seminars and exhibition.

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