On April 26, 2019, the Trump administration filed a notice of appeal of a recent court ruling invalidating the Department of Labor’s final rule on association health plans (AHPs).
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has not asked for a stay of the U.S. District Court decision while the lawsuit is on appeal, meaning that the March 28 ruling invaliding parts of the AHP rule is in effect. However, just after the notice of appeal, the Department of Labor (DOL) put out a policy statement indicating that those who have already enrolled in AHPs under the final rule can maintain that coverage until the end of their plan year. The DOL has also said that existing AHPs can renew coverage after the end of the year for those businesses and employees that have already enrolled.
“The department recognizes that many businesses and employees have obtained health coverage from AHPs in reliance on the final rule before the district court ruling,” the DOL said in its statement. “The department is committed to taking all appropriate action within its legal authority to minimize undue consequences on employees and their families.”
The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Coalition to Protect and Promote Association Health Plans support the administration’s decision to appeal the lower court ruling to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The coalition backed the DOL with an amicus brief last year in the district court case and is working with state and federal regulators to ensure AHPs are an option for small businesses and self-employed individuals to obtain comprehensive, affordable coverage. The coalition also supports legislation introduced last month in both the Senate and the House to codify the AHP rule that provides many working Americans the opportunity to buy the same lower-cost health insurance with the same patient protections as those plans offered by large employers.
This article was provided to OSAE by the Power of A and ASAE's Inroads.