Court Rules Against Association Health Plans
The court vacated the DOL's definition of “bona fide groups”
On March 28, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia overturned key portions of the new association health plan (AHP) regulations. The court ruled that the Department of Labor’s (DOL) final AHP regulations are based on an “unreasonable interpretation” of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and that the DOL ignored the “language and purpose” of both ERISA and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The court vacated the regulations’ definition of “bona fide groups,” the new “commonality of interest” standard and the language equating working owners with employees.
An immediate stop to AHPs would result in thousands of people losing their current health care coverage. Those impacted include self-employed farmers and real estate agents and employees of small businesses whose employers cannot afford health coverage in the existing small group market.
“If this decision goes into effect, it would cause employees of small employers in multiple industries, along with self-employed farmers, real estate agents, and other independent contractors to lose their health plan," said ASAE President and CEO John Graham, FASAE, CAE in a statement from the Coalition to Protect and Promote Association Health Plans released April 1. "Our coalition is hopeful that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will overturn the ruling.”
This article was provided to OSAE by the Power of A and ASAE's Inroads.