Federal action could offer opportunity to resume AVMA LIFE health insurance offering

Published on January 29, 2018
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Veterinary Voices Guiding Public PolicyAn executive order signed by President Donald Trump may provide an opportunity for AVMA LIFE Trust to again provide health insurance for our members, and we are pursuing all avenues to make this possible.

The October 2017 executive order, “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States,” outlines three health care-related areas that the administration intends to prioritize: association health plans; short-term, limited-duration insurance; and health reimbursement arrangements.

As a result of the executive order, the U.S. Department of Labor on Jan. 5 released a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding association health plans (AHPs). The proposal seeks to expand the conditions that satisfy the requirements under existing Labor Department advisory opinions interpreting the definition of an “employer” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in a manner that would focus on associations.

Under the proposed rule, association health plans that meet certain conditions would have the means of partnering to offer a single group health plan subject to the same state and federal regulatory structure as other ERISA-covered employee welfare benefit plans by expanding the definition of an employer-employee relationship.

The Labor Department is soliciting public comments on the proposal through March 6. AVMA and AVMA LIFE are closely reviewing the rule and will submit comments on the proposed framework.

For 57 years, AVMA LIFE (previously AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust) provided health care coverage to veterinarians and their families. That ended in 2014, due to regulatory changes resulting from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Trump administration’s new proposal might make it possible for AVMA LIFE to again offer health insurance to members.

We’ll continue updating members on this issue as key developments occur.


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