WASHINGTON (December 21, 2023) – Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed to rescind the 2018 Association Health Plans (AHP) final regulations, which would have allowed real estate professionals and other small businesses to participate in an AHP.
Small businesses, including real estate professionals, are limited to Affordable Care Act markets, while large businesses can access more affordable and comprehensive health coverage through "large group" markets. AHPs help level the playing field by enabling smaller employers and self-employed individuals to band together into associations and "group purchase" from the same large group markets. It is seemingly unfair that American real estate professionals and their families are excluded from these high-quality, low-cost health insurance options simply because they are self-employed and thus considered "small businesses of one."
"NAR is disappointed with the latest DOL proposal," said NAR President Tracy Kasper. "Our association will be filing detailed comments laying out our strong objections to this proposal. We want to set the record straight that AHPs offer high-quality, low-cost health coverage options to employees of small businesses and self-employed individuals, including real estate professionals."
The DOL's latest proposal follows a 2019 federal district court decision striking down the part of the 2018 AHP rule that would have allowed real estate professionals and other working owners to join AHPs. NAR supported the previous administration's decision to appeal the district court ruling, but unfortunately, the current administration has requested the Appeals Court to delay the ruling. This latest proposal effectively signals the current administration's intention to not proceed with that appeal.
While disappointed in the latest DOL proposed decision, NAR will continue to fight and is concurrently spearheading a broad coalition to develop multi-industry comments against the proposal. NAR continues to push for legislation, including the House-passed CHOICE Arrangement Act (HR 3799), which would restore access to AHPs for small employers and self-employed individuals.
The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. The term Realtor® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
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