Self-employed could save $10K on health insurance under new Trump plan

A bar chart showing positive business growth

A bar chart showing positive business growth

"Many of our laws, particularly Obamacare, make healthcare coverage more expensive for small businesses than large companies", Acosta said.

This reform allows small employers - many of whom are facing much higher premiums and fewer coverage options as a result of Obamacare - a greater ability to join together and gain numerous regulatory advantages enjoyed by large employers.

"Because association health plans might appear like regular insurance but typically offer narrow coverage, many consumers who buy them will discover that they have astronomically high medical bills for charges they assumed would be covered by their health insurance", Isasi said.

The association plans have always been a goal for congressional Republicans who say it's a way for people to take advantage of the group insurance market, even if they are self-employed or work for a business too small to provide insurance.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 4 million people will join AHPs in the next five years, including 400,000 who would have remained uninsured otherwise.

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta believes the final rule will allow more families and employee groups to purchase affordable health plans and avoid rising costs in the individual market.

The new final rule revises prior DOL guidance regarding what constitutes a "commonality of interest", providing that the association members have a commonality of interest if they are: (1) in the same "trade, industry, line of business or profession", or (2) are located in "same state or metropolitan area even if the metropolitan area includes more than one state".

At this point, it appears that the anti-discrimination protections that apply to large business will also be applied to AHPs. The final rule, however, clarifies that existing law stipulates that an AHP must be sponsored by a group of employers and/or self-employed individuals who themselves are considered employers.

The Los Angeles Times found in a recent analysis that more than 95 percent of health care groups that filed comments on the proposed rule expressed serious concern or opposed it.

The final rule broadens the definition of an employer under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to allow more groups to form AHPs as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health exchanges. Until today, these entrepreneurs were often left with no coverage option other than the individual market, where premiums costs for benchmark plans doubled between 2013 and 2017, according to Health and Human Services. The NC Department of Insurance is also working to learn how the new rule could impact North Carolinians. "The President's decision helps working Americans-and their families-purchase quality, affordable health coverage", he said. Such employers may form associations for the primary goal of offering health coverage to members, provided they have a "substantial" unrelated business objective, which need not be a for-profit objective.

Morrisey says it could also provide lower-cost coverage, outside of the current marketplace.

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), which represents insurers, released a statement saying the final rule does offer some important consumer protections, including for those with preexisting conditions.

"We are putting more power back into the hands of the American people to choose the health insurance plan that best meets their needs at a price they can afford", said Sen. "By allowing the sale of junk plans, the rule will remove younger, healthier individuals from insurance pools, which will drive up the cost of coverage for all other Americans", said Reps. Employers can continue to form nationwide AHPs for businesses in their specific industry.

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