The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently heard oral arguments in the case brought by a dozen attorneys general (AGs) challenging the Department of Labor (DOL) association health plan (AHP) rule issued in 2018. A decision will not be released until next year, possibly late winter or early spring.
Questions in the case focused on Chevron deference of the rule (DOL’s ability to interpret the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)); the rule’s impact on the Affordable Care Act (ACA); and guidance issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) related to aggregation of employees for purposes of determining group plan eligibility that is critical for AHP access to the large group insurance market. The court stressed that the question before the court was on the interpretation of ERISA, and not necessarily on the resulting impact on the ACA, indicating there may be additional legal challenges to that aspect and the related HHS guidance.
NAR filed an amicus brief defending the AHP rule, which received the support of over 200 state and local REALTOR® associations from around the country. The Coalition to Protect and Promote AHPs also filed an amicus brief, of which NAR is a founding member. At least 30 States have signaled support for AHPs, including covering self-employed individuals without employees. This is compared to the 12 AGs (including D.C.) opposing the rule. Approximately 3,000 REALTORS® and their families are currently covered under AHPs.
Stay tuned to https://www.nar.realtor/health-care-reform for the latest.