The House in June passed legislation (H.R. 660) allowing for the creation of association health plans (AHPs). Similar to group health plans, AHPs are sponsored by trade, industry, professional, chamber of commerce or similar business associations and meet certain certification Employee Retirement Income Security Act requirements. If enacted, H.R. 660 would exempt certified AHPs from state regulation – including consumer protection and minimum health care benefits – of health insurance providers. The idea is that these AHPs would give small businesses greater bargaining power, economies of scale, administrative efficiencies and the benefits of a uniform regulatory structure. Senate companion legislation (S. 545) has yet to advance in the Senate.
House passes health plan bill