The Trump Administration has been proposing new ways to reduce group medical insurance and healthcare costs and the resistance continues to mount. Two of his lower cost models are short-term medical policies and Association Health Plans. Both are coming under much scrutiny and on March 28, 2019 a federal judge ruled that parts of the 2018 final rules on association health plans (AHP's) are invalid.
The court struck down two parts of the rule:
- The provision defining "employer" to include associations of disparate employers; and
- The provision expanding membership in these associations to include working owners without employees.
The fact that AHP's were intended to allow small businesses and individuals to avoid the requirements of ACA and allowing an individual to be considered an "employer" and an "employee" at the same time is just not viable. The court ruled that bona fie association and working owner provisions of the final rule were unreasonable interpretations of ERISA and must be vacated.
In Tennessee there are several groups working hard to design and implement AHP's. I expect we will see changes in the structure of Association Health Plans to exclude one person groups and require common industries to band together. We are far from done with the tinkering to healthcare while costs continue to rise.
Have you considered Local Funding for your group insurance plan? We have helped many TN companies reduce their costs by using non-traditional techniques and getting outside to box to build better plans for lower costs.