NAHB has been a long-time proponent of association health plans (AHPs), which empower small businesses to pool together to purchase health insurance plans for their employees.
On Oct. 12, President Trump signed an executive order with NAHB First Vice Chairman Randy Noel standing by his side directing the Department of Labor (DOL) to implement new regulations to ease restrictions on AHPs. On Jun. 19, NAHB welcomed the issuance of a final rule by DOL expanding the ability of small businesses to join together locally or across state lines through a bona fide industry, professional, or trade association to become large purchasers of health insurance. Further, the new guidelines allow sole proprietorships and independent contractors to participate in an AHP, expanding access to affordable health coverage to small employers and self-employed individuals.
All associations (new or existing) may establish a fully-insured AHP on Sept. 1, 2018. Existing associations that sponsored an AHP on or before the date the final rule was published may restructure their AHP to be self-funded on Jan 1, 2019. All other associations (new or existing) may establish a self-funded AHP on April 1, 2019.
NAHB does not offer a health insurance benefit to our members at this time. NAHB has remained engaged with Congress, DOL and the White House on the new rule from start to finish and will continue to monitor its implementation. Through the work of a member-driven task force, we are determining what our best opportunities – and those of our affiliated HBAs – may be.
Why It Matters
Smaller employers face significant challenges in negotiating high-quality health care at costs that they and their employees can afford. AHPs can lower costs for employers and workers by putting small businesses on an equal footing with larger employers and unions when it comes to negotiating lower insurance rates. Moreover, with the construction industry facing a severe labor shortage, allowing small residential home building firms to offer competitive health care benefits at affordable rates will help them to attract and retain talented workers.
See the latest on AHPs at NAHBNow.