Labor Department Issues Proposed Rule Expanding Association Health Plans

Acting on an executive order issued by President Trump last fall, the Department of Labor has detailed proposed regulations that would allow associations to offer health plans across state lines.

The Trump administration on Thursday proposed new regulations to expand association health plans (AHPs) to create more access to affordable health coverage for small businesses and their employees.

The proposed rules stem from an executive order President Trump issued in October directing federal agencies to loosen restrictions under the federal ERISA law to allow groups that qualify as associations to sponsor insurance plans across state lines.

“Expanding access to AHPs would provide more affordable health insurance options to many Americans, including hourly wage earners, farmers, and the employees of small businesses and entrepreneurs that fuel economic growth,” the Trump directive states.

Trump mentioned AHPs during an interview with the New York Times last week, saying he anticipated the expansion of AHPs would end up covering “millions and millions of people.”

“ASAE has long believed that association health plans could expand healthcare choices for small businesses and franchise owners if federally regulated,” said ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE. “It’s not immediately clear from the rules issued this week if all 501(c)(6) and (c)(3) membership associations would be eligible to sponsor an AHP under the new rules, but ASAE will be submitting comments on AHPs as requested by the Labor Department.”

ASAE will share its comments on the proposed rules with the association community as soon as they are written, Graham said.

(alexskopje/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Chris Vest, CAE

By Chris Vest, CAE

Chris Vest, CAE is vice president, corporate communications and public relations at ASAE. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!