Following President Trump’s executive order in October of 2017 “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States,” the US Department of Labor proposed a rule to create expanded Association Health Plans (AHPs).
As noted in the October 13, 2017 Week In Review, AHPs would allow small business owners to join together through trade and professional associations to purchase health insurance for themselves and their employees.
SAF has long-advocated for AHPs to provide additional options for employers in offering health care insurance to their employees.
Although AHPs currently exist, they are severely limited. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, AHPs were only utilized by six percent of smaller companies in the country in 2017.
The proposed rule would greatly expand the availability of AHPs.
Individuals would be able to buy them for the first time.
The proposal would allow AHPs to be sold across state lines, allowing for greater competition and options for employers. However, the rule does not exempt the plans from state regulation. Instead, the rule invites public input “about the relative merits of possible exemption.”
In addition, AHPs would be classified the same way as large employers’ insurance, which means that they would no longer be mandated to comply with expensive mandates imposed on insurance sold to individuals and small companies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The rule would preserve the restriction that that prevents insurers from charging certain customers more based on their health status or from refusing to cover those with conditions that are expensive to treat.
The proposed rule is open for public comment for 60 days.