A Trump Administration plan that would have allowed associations to offer health insurance to members, including independent contractors, has stalled. The Biden Administration now prefers increased access to Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage.
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden made access to healthcare and strengthening of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a priority during his campaign, but new Executive Orders have derailed efforts to allow associations to offer healthcare plans to members, including independent contractors.
The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is a strong advocate for Association Health Plans (AHPs) and says it will continue to push for AHP options.
Pres. Biden signed Executive Order 14009, “Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act,” last week. In the order, he says, “It is the policy of my Administration to protect and strengthen Medicaid and the ACA and to make high-quality healthcare accessible and affordable for every American.”
Within that order, Biden rescinds two earlier Executive Orders signed by Pres. Trump, including Executive Order 13813, “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States.” That effectively rescinds the order that prioritizes association health plans, which said, “Among the myriad areas where current regulations limit choice and competition, my Administration will prioritize three areas for improvement in the near term: association health plans (AHPs), short-term, limited-duration insurance (STLDI), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).”
While NAR led the advocacy effort for association group health plans, Florida Realtors and the Florida Legislature had already completed some necessary groundwork on behalf of association members. The Florida Legislature adopted special legislation to make AHP plans legal in Florida, and Florida Realtors engaged a leading insurance broker so it could one day offer plans to members of the association. It was a multistep process that included court cases not yet finalized.
NAR faces an additional challenge in its advocacy campaign for AHPs: Biden’s choice for Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra was one of 17 attorneys seeking to block Trump’s change in AHP protections. At the time, Becerra was California Attorney General.
Becerra objected to AHPs and other proposed plans, saying in a media release at the time that they “would make it easier to deny Americans access to essential healthcare by allowing insurers to offer junk health plans which exclude critical coverage and benefits for consumers.”
While the initial AHP news isn’t encouraging for association members seeking healthcare coverage, it’s still unclear what will happen next.
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