DOL Issues Additional Guidance After District Court Invalidates AHPs Formed Under New Rules

May 14, 2019

On May 13, 2019, the DOL issued Part Two in a series of questions and answers they’ve provided after a federal district court invalidated their final AHP rules. As background, in New York v. DOL, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia invalidated the DOL’s rules relating to association health plans (AHPs). Since then, the DOL has issued a statement indicating that they intend to appeal the decision. They also provided a set of questions and answers that essentially reiterates the information they provided in their statement.

Part Two of those questions and answers provides additional clarification on the DOL’s stance. Specifically the questions and answers provide the following:

  • Pathway 1 AHPs (which is the DOL’s term for AHPs that were formed pursuant to the old rules) are not affected by the district court’s decision. The DOL also briefly reminds readers of the requirements for AHPs formed under those rules.
  • Pathway 2 AHPs (which is the DOL’s term for AHPs that were formed pursuant to the new rules) cannot market to or sign up new employer members. Existing employer members can sign up special enrollees, though, and will fall under enforcement relief the DOL provided through their statement.
  • Pathway 2 AHPs with a contract term of more than one year can also avail themselves of the enforcement relief, if, for example, their coverage doesn’t end until after the end of the current plan year.
  • Pathway 1 AHPs that would like additional guidance on meeting their requirements or would like to possibly request an advisory opinion indicating that they meet those requirements can reference the guidance EBSA has already provided (found here).

As we mentioned in previous articles on this subject, NFP Benefits Compliance will continue to monitor the lawsuit and any related developments.

Questions and Answers Part Two »