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  • Washington Highlights

    DOL Releases Final Rule on Association Health Plans

    Phoebe Ramsey, Director, Physician Payment & Quality

    The Department of Labor (DOL) June 19 issued a final rule on association health plans (AHPs), which will allow small businesses and other groups of employers to join together and form an association for the sole purpose of offering health insurance.

    The rule exempts AHPs from individual and small group market regulations, which will allow AHPs to offer less comprehensive insurance products. This includes an exemption from some of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) consumer-protection requirements, such as coverage of the 10 required essential health benefits.

    The AAMC submitted comments on the proposed rule that express concerns that this will leave patients with inferior health insurance coverage, potentially limiting access to care, and leave providers who treat these patients either underpaid or not paid at all [see Washington Highlights, March 9].

    DOL also released frequently asked questions about AHPs based on the final rule. Some provisions will become applicable on Sept. 1, 2018, with the rest of the rule becoming applicable Jan. 1, 2019, or April 1, 2019.