Federal Judge’s Decision to Strike Down Rule on Association Health Plans is Good News for Small Businesses
Statement by Small Business Majority Founder & CEO John Arensmeyer on why a federal judge’s decision to overturn the Trump administration’s rule expanding association health plans will benefit small businesses and the small group market
We are pleased a federal district court judge has struck down a recent U.S. Department of Labor rule expanding association health plans (AHPs), ruling that it is a blatant attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We have long expressed our concerns that this rule would lead to higher premiums, unbalanced risk pools and lower-quality insurance for small businesses.
While the federal rule may have made it easier for a select number of small businesses with younger and/or healthier employees to purchase association health plans, the tradeoff is that this would cause the insurance market for small businesses to split in two, leading to major spikes in premiums for small firms that remain in the small group market.
What’s more, these multi-state plans offer fewer consumer safeguards. In fact, they do not have to comply with the ACA’s requirement to cover essential health benefits like maternity care or prescription coverage, and they may be designed to exclude those with existing health conditions. Additionally, many of these plans have a long history of abuse, fraud and mismanagement, resulting in a history of unsuspecting small businesses being left responsible for millions in unpaid claims.
This administration has shown that it will do anything and everything possible to destroy policies it disagrees with, regardless of whether or not those policies are working for small businesses. It is simply fact that the ACA has helped millions of small business owners, their employees and solo entrepreneurs gain quality, affordable health insurance. Since the administration has no interest in improving healthcare for small businesses, we are glad a federal judge has seen this rule for what it is and ruled in favor of protecting the ACA.
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Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of a thriving and inclusive economy. We actively engage our network of more than 58,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.