New Small Group Health Plan Options

January 12, 2018

Last October President Trump signed an Executive Order to allow the formation of Association Health Plans (AHPs). The Department of Labor (DOL) was tasked with creating new rules for the development of these plans. Those rules were released late on Thursday and are open for public comment for 60 days. The rules must go through the Federal rule making process and could be changed.

The idea of Association Health Plans is not new. In 1998 the original Republican proposal for them passed the House but failed in the Senate. Then again in 2003 and 2004 the AHP legislation was proposed and passed the House but was shot down in the Senate.

While these new rules have their roots in the original AHP proposals they are quite different. The concept is actually very simple – allow small employers to band together to purchase health insurance, leveraging their size and financial strength. This concept is targeted at small employers who suffer the most with rising health insurance costs. These new rules also include sole proprietors and self-employed individuals for the first time.