ADEA State Update

Association Health Plans Move Forward

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The Trump Administration issued new rules that expand access for small businesses that fail to meet Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage requirements to Association Health Plans (AHPs). AHPs allow small businesses and self-employed individuals to band together to enroll in a single group health plan. The rule expands the definition of an employer under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, to allow more groups to form AHPs and bypass rules under the ACA. Among the rules that AHPs would be exempt from under the ACA is the requirement to provide the ten essential benefits, including pediatric dental care. ERISA is the federal law that governs health benefits and retirement plans offered by large employers. Attorneys General from New York and Massachusetts plan to sue the Administration, arguing in a joint statement that the new rules “invite fraud, mismanagement, and deception, and, as we’ve made clear, will do nothing to help ease the real health care challenges facing Americans.” In an independent analysis, the United States Department of Labor forecasts the potential shift of healthy young individuals to AHPs.

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