Washington Report

Advocacy Updates from Washington D.C.

Administrative Actions Question Future of AHPs for ICs

On January 28, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order (EO) aimed at making high-quality health care accessible and affordable for every American. The EO added a special enrollment period for federally-facilitated marketplaces and directed federal agencies to take action. The EO also revoked a 2017 Trump Administration EO that directed the Department of Labor (DOL) to issue the association health plan (AHPs) regulation that expanded access to these plans for the first time to independent contractors.

While this revocation did not directly rescind the AHP regulation, the President’s EO also instructed DOL to review all existing regulations and consider whether to “suspend, revise, or rescind” any of these regulations that may be inconsistent with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which likely includes the AHP rule. Any such regulatory action should be published for public notice and comment, so NAR will be engaging with DOL through multiple measures to advocate for protection of the regulation issued in 2018, and offer suggestions for revisions to maintain it.

In the outstanding AHP litigation, DOL recently filed a motion to hold the pending appeal before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in abeyance for at least 60 days, effectively delaying any ruling that would be issued. In short, this means that instead of continuing the Former Trump Administration’s appeal to reinstate the rule (that has been pending for over a year), DOL may withdraw its case, letting the unfavorable D.C. District Court ruling stand. However, at this time, no decisions have been made by DOL on how to proceed with the AHP rule or litigation.

NAR is closely following DOL’s actions on this and how the AHP regulation may evolve, including maintained engagement with the broad industry AHP coalition NAR help found. Stay tuned to nar.realtor/health-care-reform for more updates.

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