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On Thursday, October 12th, the White House issued an Executive Order directing the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Treasury to consider changes to increase access to more affordable health insurance options for Americans, including “Association Health Plans” (AHPs). The focus of the Order’s AHP provision is employer-provided health insurance coverage. It does not specifically apply to insurance coverage for self-employed individuals or independent contractors.
NAR has long supported legislation enabling the creation of AHPs, as well as other similar efforts to expand health insurance options for REALTORS®. While the Executive Order’s AHP provision does not appear to apply to independent contractors, NAR will continue to work with the administration and Congress on regulatory and legislative changes needed to make Association Health Plans a workable option for REALTORS®.
Background of the Executive Order
The Order directs the Department of Labor (DOL)to issue guidance to allow small businesses to band together to form AHPs and purchase health insurance coverage in the large-group health insurance market, which is exempt from some Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations, with the goal of reducing insurance premiums. The Executive Order also directs Treasury, DOL, and Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider the following: (1)expanding the length of short-term, limited-duration insurance policies (STLDI) for individuals and (2) changing rules governing Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) offered by employers to fund employee health care expenses.
In response to the Executive Order, NAR President Bill Brown released the following statement:
“Today’s White House announcement is an important part of the work to expand health coverage opportunities. Association Health Plans have long offered promise for small business owners and self-employed individuals seeking affordable health coverage. NAR is reviewing the specifics of the proposal to determine the promise that it may offer self-employed individuals, like real estate professionals.”