U.S. Department of Labor Ruling Will Allow Expansion of and More Options For Small Business Health Insurance Plans

In late June, the U.S. Department of Labor released a ruling that will allow for the expansion of small business health insurance plans. This long anticipated news is very exciting and will give members additional options for health insurance. Several associations and membership-based organizations, including ChamberChoice, have been preparing for this ruling and the opportunity to create new association health plans for many months. Thus far, the response from insurance companies and other service providers is positive, and the goal is for ChamberChoice to begin offering association health plans again starting in September.

This ruling changes the USDOL’s interpretation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s (ERISA) definition of “employer” to allow small businesses to band together to create health plans for their employees with less expensive premiums than previously available for individuals or single organizations in the marketplace. The rule change essentially changes the DOL’s interpretation of ERISA’s definition of “employer” to include “employer association.” This ruling will restore ChamberChoice’s ability to create and sell differentiated ChamberChoice health insurance benefits and pricing for Chamber members – including sole proprietors.

Here is an easy to read document that further explains this change and includes FAQs.