The U.S. Department of Labor’s proposal to let more associations offer health plans to their members is a positive step forward, but changes are needed before real estate professionals can realistically benefit, the National Association of REALTORS wrote this week in a letter to the department. The proposal would modifies and broadens the definition of “employer” to include “working owners,” laying the groundwork for independent contractors and small-business owners to band together as part of an association health plan. AHPs could take advantage of the large group health insurance market, which generally offers greater flexibility and lower policy costs.
The rule defines working owners as self-employed individuals or small-business owners who don’t have employees working for them. The rule currently does not extend the option of an AHP to those who have access to subsidized insurance through a spouse’s employer plan. NAR is urging the Department to extend the rule to all “working owners.”