The Fredericksburg Area Association of Realtors® (FAAR) has agreed to join the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) amicus brief in defense of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Association Health Plan rule. Amicus briefs are legal documents filed in appellate court cases by non-litigants that have a strong interest in the subject matter in question.
Earlier this year, a federal court ruled that provisions of the DOL’s rule were unlawful, a ruling adversely impacting Realtors® seeking more cost effective and comprehensive health insurance solutions through AHP options.
“Passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act resulted in significant regulatory changes to the individual insurance market, some of which have benefited Realtors®,” the brief reads. “However, ACA changes have also resulted in significant increases in health care costs, leading many individuals to forgo coverage, which jeopardizes the health, safety and financial stability of their families and others.”
FAAR, along with a number of other state and local associations, has agreed to join NAR in protecting AHPs, which has been the subject of litigation since shortly after the rule was finalized in June of last year. Others participating in the amicus brief include five state and local associations that are currently offering AHPs to members, including the Baldwin County Association of Realtors® in Alabama, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors®, the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors®, the Nevada Realtors®, and the Tennessee Realtors®.
To date, over 3,000 Realtors® and their families have found cost-effective health insurance solutions through these five association health plans. Many more Realtor® associations are also exploring AHP options but have been delayed due to this litigation uncertainty. “FAAR is supporting this amicus brief to support the work already happening in Virginia to expand access to AHPs. Too many of our members are paying exorbitant premiums or forgoing insurance altogether,” states 2019 FAAR President Drew Fristoe.
If the courts final ruling is adverse and pending any appeals, independent contractors may lose the ability to access insurance coverage through an AHP, sacrificing valuable savings on premiums, and broader network access with more comprehensive benefits. Overall, AHP plans have proven to have lower cost options and better overall coverage, leading countless sole proprietors and small employers alike to purchase association health plans over the past year.