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SMALL BUSINESS NEWS

Oct 2017

 

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New Executive Order Permits Buying Insurance Across State Lines

On 11 October 2017 The President issued an executive order to facilitate the purchase of insurance across state lines.

This will have huge implications for small businesses that want to provide health insurance for their workers.

The order directs the Secretary of Labor to act within 60 days to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance, consistent with law, to expand access to health coverage by allowing more employers to form Association Health Plans (AHPs) (also known as Group Hearth Plans).  It directs the Secretary of Labor to also consider ways to promote AHP formation on the basis of common geography or industry.

According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) the term ‘group health plan’ means an employee welfare benefit plan to the extent that the plan provides medical care to employees or their dependents directly or through insurance, reimbursement, or otherwise.  HIPAA allow groups of employers to joined together to form association health plans (AHPs) to provide employee benefits and thereby receive cheaper costs with less administrative overhead.  It enables smaller employers to provide health benefits to their employers on equal footing as larger employers.

Under HIPAA Association Health Plans are not allow to establish pre-conditions for joining that involves Health status; Medical condition (including both physical and mental illnesses); Claims experience; Receipt of health care; Medical history; Genetic information; Evidence of insurability (including conditions arising out of acts of domestic violence) and Disability.

Learn how to obtain Group Health Insurance for your small business.

The Order also calls for the Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to act within 60 days to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance, consistent with law, to expand the availability of Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance (STLDI).   The goal should be to allow  such insurance to cover longer periods and be renewed by the consumer.

Another area covered by the executive order is the expanded Availability and Permitted Use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements.  Within 120 days, the Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services shall consider proposing regulations or revising guidance, to increase the usability of HRAs, to expand employers' ability to offer HRAs to their employees, and to allow HRAs to be used in conjunction with non-group coverage.

 

Sources:
Presidential Executive Order Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)


By Wendy Stewart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

  
 

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