A coalition of associations, including ASAE, is supporting the government’s request that a court dismiss a lawsuit challenging Labor Department regulations for association health plans.
ASAE and the Coalition to Protect and Promote Association Health Plans filed an amicus brief in federal court Wednesday supporting the Department of Labor’s authority to issue its final AHP regulations last summer.
The coalition’s amicus brief, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, backs the administration’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of 11 states and the District of Columbia that seeks to invalidate the final AHP rule.
In its brief, the coalition challenges the plaintiffs’ assertion that the AHP rule “would return the country to the pre-ACA [Affordable Care Act] world where people with preexisting conditions will lack federal protections.”
The coalition argues that unlike short-term health plans, an AHP is a “group health plan” subject to federal consumer protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and COBRA. The brief notes that AHPs are also subject to the ACA’s coverage requirements, which strictly prohibit denying a person health coverage based on a preexisting condition.
The coalition’s brief also explains that national and state member-based organizations want to offer their small-employer and independent-contractor members the same type of comprehensive health coverage that large employers can provide to their employees.
“The Department of Labor has issued perfectly rational regulations that will enable eligible associations to offer comprehensive health coverage to small employers and self-employed individuals who are currently struggling to afford health insurance,” said ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE. The states’ “objections to the DOL’s rule are unfounded and are standing in the way of a well-reasoned and greatly needed option in the health insurance marketplace.”
After the DOL issued the AHP regulations last summer, ASAE helped form the coalition to work with federal and state regulators and to resolve some of the policy and legal uncertainties so that AHPs can operate as the Department of Labor envisioned.
In addition to ASAE, coalition members include the American Bankers Association, American Composites Manufacturers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Veterinary Medical Association, Associated Employers Benefit and Trust, Association of Web-Based Health Insurance Brokers, Financial Services Institute, Food Marketing Institute, Foundation for Government Accountability, Global Cold Chain Alliance, Indiana Credit Union League, International Franchise Association, International Sign Association, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Manufacturer and Business Association, Michigan Dental Association, National Apartment Association, National Association of Realtors, NFIB, National Restaurant Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, and Transportation Intermediaries Association.