Federal Rule Broadens Association Health Plan Opportunities

Employee Benefit Adviser

Attorneys Helaine I. Fingold, Gretchen Harders, Cassandra Labbees, Gregory R. Mitchell, and Jackie Selby co-authored an article in Employee Benefit Adviser, titled “Federal Rule Broadens Association Health Plan Opportunities.”

Following is an excerpt:

The availability of new association health plans may result in self-employed individuals and small groups moving away from exchange/marketplace products in favor of the less expensive coverage.

AHPs also will provide a new alternative for the self-employed and small groups that did not purchase health insurance through the exchanges due to affordability concerns. The final rule includes protections intended to remedy historical challenges with AHPs and to prevent AHPs from discriminating against individuals based on health reasons, something that would have been prohibited for issuers and plans offering small group and individual market coverage.

The DOL’s final rule does not represent a significant change in direction from the content of the proposed rule issued in January. Fundamentally, the final rule expands the definition of an “employer” within the portion of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 defining who can be the sponsors of a multiple employer group health plan.