The U.S Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized its long-awaited Association Health Plan (AHP) rule to expand the definition of “employer” to include “working owners.” This change allows real estate professionals and other self-employed individuals to participate in association health plans. A key provision, forwarded for inclusion in the rule by NAR, will allow many REALTORS® who have access to coverage through a spouse to be eligible to choose an AHP option. (key phrase left out here — affordable AHP)
The ruling is a major step forward for NAR’s long-standing advocacy efforts to expand AHP eligibility to independent contractors. This ruling allows NAR to keep up its ongoing program to evaluate potential options for expanding REALTORS® options for access to health insurance coverage. It does not mean that a REALTOR® AHP will be available in the near term, but action continues to explore such options.
Although this is a step in the right direction, it seems to be one of feet dragging on a phenomenal level! What a way to squeeze people out of their independence! I see small businesses close, hear of people taking jobs because, “We couldn’t afford the monthly insurance cost.” Say it ain’t so!
But I can not say it isn’t so! Small business may have been the backbone in the past, but health insurance with an aging population of hard workers is certainly going to dramatically change the playing field of tomorrow.