Breaking News: New Association Health Plans Rules Expand Health Care Options

Association Health Plans

Today, the US Department of Labor (DOL) released new association health plans (AHPs) rules that allow small employers and self-employed individuals to join together to purchase health insurance coverage.  These rules are the result of President Trump’s executive order last year requesting the DOL to provide more access and choice in the health insurance market, including the AHP regulations.

As the DOL stated in the press release accompanying the regulations “under the Department’s new rule, AHPs can serve employers in a city, county, state, or a multi-state metropolitan area, or a particular industry nationwide”. This includes self-employed individuals who now qualify as an “employer” and can participate in AHPs. The expected immediate benefit will be to self-employed individuals, and employers in the restaurant and fast food industries, who lobbied for this rule.

According to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta,  as many as 4 million people will gain coverage under the new plan offerings in the coming years. This number includes 400,000 people who previously did not have insurance coverage. Industry sources confirm this analysis.

We will be reviewing the rules and comments (over 198 pages) and providing further updates.

For more information on this topic, contact your Health Care Law counsel at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.

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