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DoL, AHP, and You

By Eric Elgin

June 1, 2018

width=350DoL, AHP, and you? Eric, what are you talking about?”

I’m glad you asked. We are nearing our 2018 Print and Packaging Legislative Summit, June 19–20, in Washington, D.C. This event brings together nearly 100 executives from corrugated, folding, rigid, and related printing and converting industries to visit their legislators to continue the push for policies more favorable to our manufacturing sector. (More about that in our next column!)

While there, we will hear updates on the regulatory side of things. Recall that President Donald Trump in his first year of office issued an executive order stating that no new regulation could come from the government unless two prior regulations were eliminated, and this has been an excellent start.

One obscure regulatory change that began last fall was in the Department of Labor (DoL), which oversees the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The original ERISA legislation governs single-employer plans as well as multiple-employer plans, in which employers not related by common ownership join together under the same benefit plan. Last October, the president issued an executive order modifying the original rules to make it easier to form these multiple-employer plans. These “association health plans,” or AHPs, give small employers the ability to band together for the following purposes:

  • Offer benefits in the large-group market segment.
  • Offer more flexibility in plan designs and more plan options.
  • Avoid the Affordable Care Act (ACA) small-group market reforms.
  • Potentially lower the premiums using more competitive rating methods.

The DoL issued a preliminary rule on January 5, 2018, and this was followed by a mandatory 60-day comment period, which ended on March 5. In the spring, the DoL considered the comments, and it will issue a preliminary final rule in June. Another 60 days are required before the rule is completely finalized, which is expected in August or September.

We see an opportunity for AICC to form one of these AHPs for the benefit of all members, and the AICC Board of Directors is working toward that now. Some of you may have already replied to surveys about your interest in this program, as well as preliminary data-gathering, which will be necessary in order to approach carriers who will be engaging in this market.

So now you know all about DoL, AHP, and you. Stay tuned for more information about AHPs and how AICC members can benefit from them.


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Eric Elgin is owner of Oklahoma Interpak and Chair of AICC’s Government Affairs Subcommittee. He can be reached at 918-687-1681 or eric@okinterpak.com.