Coalition of State AGs Urge DOL to Clarify AHPs Must Meet Key ACA Requirements

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A coalition of 12 state Attorneys General is encouraging the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to clarify its recent rule concerning Association Health Plans (AHPs).

In 2018, the DOL developed the final AHP rule to allow businesses join together to offer health insurance to their employers. The department’s action was in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order to promote healthcare choice and competition.

At the time, the coalition, which was led by the state Attorneys General of New York and Massachusetts, sued the DOL to stop the implementation of the AHP rule.

AHPs must provide comprehensive health benefits to consumers

In March 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sided with the coalition of AGs. The court ruled that AHP rule “does violence” to laws enacted by Congress. It is “clearly an end-run around the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires health insurers provide comprehensive health benefits to consumers. 

On Monday, the coalition of state AGs sent a letter to the DOL and emphasized that the AHP rule is “materially incomplete.” The AGs cited the reason that the rule “does not inform consumers that key Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements—such as the Essential Health Benefits Package —now apply to individuals and small groups enrolled in AHPs.”

The coalition wants the DOL to clearly state in its rule that AHPs must meet ACA’s key requirements including the Essential Health Benefit Package.

In a statement, New York State Attorney General Letitia James, said, “Our federal government should be doing everything in its power to protect and expand access to healthcare, not deny it.”

Additionally,  AG James said, “This new policy is both deceiving and dangerous – it fails to adequately inform policyholders of the true extent of the coverage that they have a legal right to, and that plans should be providing. All Americans deserve access to quality healthcare and we will continue to fight to ensure this basic right.”