Messer Applauds Department of Labor Rule Change

Press Release

Date: June 21, 2018
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Labor Unions

U.S. Rep. Luke Messer (IN-06) today applauded the Department of Labor for expanding access to Association Health Plans (AHPs) while allowing employers to continue offering these existing plans, something Messer pushed for in March.

"I applaud the Trump Administration for increasing access to affordable health insurance plans for Hoosier workers," Messer said. "The final rule also ensures that employers already using AHPs can continue to offer the same coverage that is working well for their employees."

In January, the Department of Labor issued a proposed rule to expand access to AHPs, which allow small businesses and other groups to join together to buy coverage. The overall goal of the rule was to expand access to more affordable health insurance plans that are exempt from certain regulations that drive up the cost of coverage. The proposed rule did not grandfather in existing AHPs, which could have led to AHPs reducing the benefits they currently provide or potentially forcing employees and their dependents off plans that are working for them.

Several associations in Indiana, like the Indiana Manufacturers Association and Indiana Credit Union League operate AHPs for their members and voiced concerns that the proposed rule would force them into new pricing structures and potentially make their current plans unaffordable. Messer then sent a letter to the Department of Labor encouraging the agency to grandfather in existing plans to ensure that plans that are working well remain available to employees.

Fellow Indiana representatives Jim Banks, Susan Brooks, Larry Bucshon, and Jackie Walorski also signed on to Messer's letter.

The Department officially changed their proposed rule Wednesday, which grandfathers in existing AHPs, allowing them to operate as before, or elect to follow the new requirements for plans.

"On behalf of Indiana's credit unions, we appreciate the new DOL rule being supportive of how the AHP serving 89 Indiana credit unions has operated so successfully," said Indiana Credit Union League President John McKenzie.