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Thanks to a final rule issued by the Administration, Association Health Plans (AHPs) will be available starting this month. Expanding AHPs will make it easier for certain small employers to offer plans that don’t have Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage protections. In previous Alerts, we highlighted how these inadequate plans would draw younger healthier people from the ACA Marketplace while raising costs for older people. These plans could also weaken essential health benefits for people who need coverage the most and cause a spike in premiums for others. Consumers who choose these “junk plans” would find themselves without comprehensive coverage when they need care the most. The expansion of these plans through regulation is yet another action taken by the Administration to undermine the ACA.

The Attorneys General of the states of New York, Massachusetts, California, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia have filed a lawsuit to roll back this regulation. The suit argues that the AHP regulation will exempt “a significant portion of the health insurance market from the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections.” The Attorneys General also agree that issuing this regulation is part of a “continued effort to sabotage our health care system.”

Interestingly, Politico reported that the National Federation of Independent Business, a long-time advocate of AHPs now says it “won’t set one up, describing the new Trump rules as unworkable.” The report also states that many of the groups that supported the rules are now “still trying to figure out how to take advantage of them and whether the effort is even worth it.”

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