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The Department of Labor (DOL) has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would allow for the expansion of Association Health Plans (AHPs). The proposed rules are in response to an executive order issued by President Trump instructing regulators to find ways to make it easier for small employers to join together to purchase health insurance. The new rules would treat qualified AHPs as large group health plans, allowing them to avoid some small group rules such as coverage for essential health benefits, and modified community rating. It may also be possible to offer AHPs through a self-insured arrangement. However, under the proposed rules, states will continue to have the right to regulate self-insured AHPs as Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs).

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