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Issue Brief
July 2019

Amici Curiae Brief of Families USA, National Partnership for Women, et al challenging Trump administration rules for Association Health Plans

Families USA, together with National Partnership for Women and Families, National Women’s Law Center, National Employment Law Project, National Health Law Program, United Hospital Fund, and Public Citizen, joined an amici brief in the case State of NY v. US Department of Labor, which challenges Trump administration rules for Association Health Plans. The brief explains that the Department of Labor’s new rules allow associations to act like health insurance companies but without the important protections that assure meaningful benefits and that protect consumers from discrimination.

The rules will harm small business employees and their families: if their employers obtain insurance through associations, these employees and their families are not guaranteed comprehensive and affordable coverage. Associations may discriminate based on age, gender, industry, occupation, or a number of other factors, which undermines key health insurance protections. Further, by segmenting the market for health insurance, association health plans will cause the price of comprehensive insurance to rise for other small businesses and individuals.

The brief explains that the Department of Labor’s rules are contrary to ERISA. They effectively remove the distinction between a bona fide association and an insurance company. The Department of Labor’s rules also reinterpret the Public Health Services Act – and DOL does not have jurisdiction to do so. The case is being heard in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit.