In June 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) responded to an Executive Order that called on the DOL Secretary “to consider expanding health care coverage by allowing more employers to form Association Health Plans (AHPs).” Under the DOL rule, AHPs are group health plans that employer groups and associations offer to provide health coverage for employees. The final rule proposed by the DOL seeks to broaden the definition of “employer” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to allow self-employed individuals and groups without a commonality of interest to enroll in AHP’s. The purpose of the rule was to increase access to health care for small businesses. However, in March 2019, Judge John D. Bates of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the DOL’s final rule was unlawful due to misinterpreting ERISA and undermining the Affordable Care Act.
To see the full press release from the Department of Labor, click here.