Under the proposed regulation, a group of employers could be considered as an “employer” under ERISA if the employers had a “commonality of interest.” This is defined very loosely in the proposed regulation.
Proposed new rule opens way for a new type of health plan.
A new proposed regulation opens the way to expand association health plans (AHPs). AHPs are plans sponsored by a group of unrelated employers, linked by factors such as a common industry or geography. These AHP plans will be allowed to offer reduced benefits in order to lower the cost of coverage. The stated goal of the proposed regulation is to make it easier for small employers to buy lower cost health insurance.
However, the new plans create risks for employees, employers and insurance markets.