Association Health Plans (AHPs), under the Department of Labor’s (Department) final rule, are group health plans that employer groups and associations offer to provide health coverage to employees. The Department’s final rule on AHPs was published on June 21, 2018, and established a more flexible test to facilitate the adoption and administration of AHPs. The AHP rule expanded access to affordable health coverage, especially for employees of small employers and certain self-employed individuals. The AHP rule has already opened healthcare options for dozens of associations representing many small businesses and sole proprietors and provided them with access to the same type of affordable healthcare options offered by large employers. Information regarding the final rule is available on the Department’s website at www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is aware of the District Court’s decision in State of New York v. United States Department of Labor issued on March 28, 2019. The Department disagrees with the District Court’s ruling and is considering all available options in consultation with the Department of Justice including the possibility of appealing the District Court’s decision and the possibility of requesting that the District Court stay its decision pending an appeal. At this time, we have not reached a decision on how to proceed.

The first FAQs assure participants covered under AHPs established based on the final rules that they will continue to get benefits. The second FAQs clarify that AHPs established based on previous definitions are not affected by the court decision and that new employers cannot join AHPs set up under the new rules.

If you have questions about your NARFA health plan, please contact us at any time, and we’ll continue to keep a close eye on any new developments.