DOL Published Final AHP Rule

June 20, 2018

On Tuesday, June 19, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the Department of Labor (DOL) unveiled final rules expanding Association Health Plans (AHPs) which would essentially allow businesses to band together to buy health insurance.

Although NSBA is still reviewing the final rule to fully understand what it means, we have raised serious concerns with the unintended consequences of past proposals to enact AHPs. A significant reason for projected cost savings for those purchasing through an AHP is the result of cost-shifting which ultimately means other small businesses outside that AHP will pay more.

AHPs will likely operate largely outside the Affordable Care Act rules, meaning required benefits, coverage levels and oversight over the plans will enable them to develop health insurance products that are far less expensive—and likely cover less—than their ACA-compliant competitors.

In February 2018, Avalere, a health care and health policy analysis firm, published a report that estimated more than three million people would leave ACA plans for AHPs by 2022, and those in the individual and small-group markets would see additional premium increases.

Back in March, NSBA submitted comments on the AHP rule, which was originally proposed in January 2018 as a result of an executive order signed by President Donald J. Trump to expand access to AHPs and other types of insurance products. In addition to the aforementioned concerns, NSBA also emphasized that true cost relief can only be achieved through a broad reform of the current health care system with a goal of reducing the cost of coverage, providing universal access, focusing on individual responsibility and empowerment, creating of the right market-based incentives, and a relentless focus on improving quality while driving out unnecessary, wasteful and harmful costs.

Stay tuned to for additional details and analysis on the AHP rule and what it means for your business.