ASAE and the Coalition to Protect and Promote Association Health Plans voiced support for legislation introduced this week to expand healthcare options and lower costs for small businesses and their employees through AHPs.

The “Association Health Plans Act of 2021” (H.R. 4547) was introduced yesterday by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI). Co-sponsors include Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX); Rick Allen (R-GA), Republican Leader of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions; and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Republican Leader of the House Committee on Education and Labor.

“The high cost of health care remains a struggle for small businesses, many of whom are still facing pandemic-related hardship,” Walberg said. “Association health plans are a commonsense solution that empower small employers and their employees when making health coverage decisions. By providing small businesses with greater bargaining power, it allows them to offer more quality options for workers at a better price.”

Walberg and other cosponsors of the bill, which was also introduced in the last Congress, are eager to work with the Biden administration and congressional Democrats to craft rules that facilitate comprehensive coverage for small employers and the self-employed through group purchasing.

The Coalition to Protect and Promote AHPs has worked over the past three years to correct misperceptions that AHPs are an end-run around the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or that AHPs don’t offer comprehensive coverage. At least 30 states have signaled that they want to allow AHPs to cover small employers in different industries and self-employed individuals with no employees. These states already allow AHPs to cover small employers in the same industry.