On March 1st, a coalition of stakeholders, including Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR), the DC Health Benefit Exchange, the Acting Attorney General of Hawaii, AFL-CIO, Center on Capital & Social Equity, Families USA, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Partnership for Women & Families and the Small Business Majority released a letter calling on the Department of Labor (DOL) to withdraw or substantially delay the proposed regulation regarding Association Health Plans (AHPs).
The coalition made this demand in conjunction with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, because the DOL failed to provide critical information, data, and statistics from its own files detailing the history of financial abuses associated with AHPs (referred to as Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements or MEWAs) and the agency’s experience with financially failing MEWAs. The DOL also failed to propose any methods to prevent fraud and abuse that could be required of all AHPs.
Without this information, the public cannot fully understand the potential negative impact of the proposed regulation, which threatens to undermine states’ authority to regulate health insurance sold through professional or trade associations. With potentially devastating impacts to individuals, small businesses, and the state health insurance markets that serve them, the coalition called on DOL to withdraw its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking until such information is made available, or to extend the public comment period for some period of time after this information is made available.