On March 6, AGC submitted comments to the U. S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) in response to a proposed rule intended to expand association health plans (AHPs) and increase flexibility for small employers to join groups or associations to offer insured health coverage in the large group market at potentially more favorable pricing with less restrictive requirements. A number of AGC Chapters across the country currently recognize the need to offer alternative health care options and have established AHPs that offer “group health plan” coverage to employees of members. AGC is supportive of the flexibility and opportunity the DOL proposes to provide, but is also concerned of negative impacts the changes might have on current Chapter-sponsored health plans and others who might be interested in sponsoring health plans.
AGC’s comment letter urges the DOL to be mindful of Chapter plans, especially those that currently exist today, and take the necessary steps to ensure that the proposed modifications to current law do not arbitrarily disrupt the affordable and quality health coverage that these arrangements consistently provide. Specifically, AGC warns that adding certain nondiscrimination protections applicable to AHPs as proposed would critically threaten the solvency of existing Chapter plans and discourage others from even considering establishing an AHP. AGC also advises the DOL to further investigate exempting AHPs from varying state regulations if they first meet a set federal standard. AGC will continue to provide input to the DOL on the impact further changes might have on Chapter-sponsored health plans and will notify chapters and members of any developments.
For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at email@example.com or 703-837-5382.