“ASAE supports quality, affordable, accessible health care for all Americans. ASAE supports national uniform standards for funding benefits and employee protections. ASAE further believes that association health care plans possess many years of proven experience in the delivery of benefits through purchasing coalitions. As such, association health care plans can lead the way to the reform goals of providing the efficient delivery of quality health care to more citizens.” – ASAE Board Approved Position Statement #6
Association Health Plans
In February 2018, ASAE submitted comments to the Department of Labor on the administration’s proposed rules to expand association health plans (AHPs). The proposed rule, which grew out of an executive order issued by President Trump last October, would broaden the types of groups that could form association health plans with the goal of expanding affordable coverage options for small businesses and the self-employed.
ASAE’s comments focus on what types of organizations should qualify as an “employer” for the purposes of establishing an AHP (and who could participate in these plans), as well as the complexities associated with state regulation of AHPs. Importantly, the proposed rule would not preempt any current state regulations. Because the laws vary from state to state, AHP formation would be challenging without addressing state regulation.
Another critical issue is who is eligible to form AHPs and who could join for coverage. ASAE has pointed out that the proposed rules assume that the members of an association are employers, when more than half of all associations are professional societies with individual members. ASAE also suggests the administration adopt some additional restrictions on the formation of AHPs by start-up organizations where there is not already a membership nexus.
Because of the complexity of the rules, ASAE also submitted a memorandum prepared by its general counsel firm, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, which addresses additional technical issues in the proposal.