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Proposed Rule Would Clarify Association Health Plan Eligibility, Rescind Old Rule

Last week, Medicare Rights submitted comments  in support of a proposed rule that would rescind a Trump-era policy to weaken consumer protections for some types of health insurance plans.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) guaranteed individual and small-group market consumers a basic set of benefits and protections, including a prohibition on discrimination in coverage based on preexisting conditions, limitations on pricing based on age, and access to essential health benefits.

In 2018, the Trump administration proposed and finalized a rule to allow more employers to skirt ACA requirements by redefining Association Health Plan (AHP) eligibility. As finalized, this rule would have disproportionately burdened people aged 50-64 through punitive pricing, discrimination, and inadequate benefits.

The final rule never went into full effect. In July 2018, 11 states and the District of Columbia sued to block the rule, and in 2019, the court agreed and set most of the rule aside.

Medicare Rights objected to this rule because of its effects on older adults and the potential for fraud and abuse. We urged the Biden-Harris administration to rescind it completely.

If finalized, this new proposed rule would rescind the 2018 final rule in its entirety, eliminating any uncertainty regarding applicable definitions and standards. This proposal to strengthen ACA protections follows another proposed rule we support—the Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance rule—that would limit the sale of junk insurance that misleads consumers into thinking they have comprehensive coverage.

We applaud the Biden-Harris administration’s actions to reverse policies promoting non-ACA compliant health plans and protect consumers from junk plans that may leave them without the health coverage they need just when they need it most.

Read our comments on the Association Health Plan proposed rule.

Read our comments on the Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance proposed rule.

Read more about our policy recommendations to the Biden-Harris administration.

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