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The Association Health Plans Act introduced at the House of Representatives on July 20 could be good news for real estate professionals looking to lower their health care costs.

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-MI, introduced the House bill, and  Senator John Kennedy, R-La, introduced similar legislation within the Senate in March 2021.

The breakdown:

– The bill would permit short-term, limited-duration plans to provide coverage for a period of fewer than 12 months, not including extensions.

– Under current law, such plans are exempt from specific market requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

– The bill would allow groups or associations of employers to sponsor fully insured group health plans as if they were employers.

– The legislation is supported by U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Rick Allen (R-GA), and Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Mike Braun (R-IN), Rick Scott (R-FL) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS).

What this means:

The Coalition to Protect and Promote Association Health Plans recently applauded Rep. Walberg among several federal officials supporting the Association Health Plans Act.
“The high cost of health care remains a struggle for small businesses, many of whom are still facing pandemic-related hardship,” said Representative Walberg in a statement. “Association health plans are a commonsense solution that empowers 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. Our bill would expand pathways to more affordable health care for families in Michigan and across the country.”

If passed, the legislation could expand health care options and lower costs for small businesses and the self-employed through association health plans (AHPs). The health insurance option allows multiple employers—typically in the same field or industry—to band together to provide medical benefits to their employees.

Real estate professionals stand to benefit from the bill in a big way, according to Charlie Oppler, president of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

“Association Health Plans often offer more comprehensive coverage at lower costs than traditional individual plans, and the flexibility they afford to independent contractors is invaluable,” Oppler said in a statement. “As NAR continues our work to secure more favorable health insurance solutions for America’s 1.4 million REALTORS® and their families, we are grateful that Representatives Walberg and Foxx are taking concrete steps to improve America’s broader healthcare system.”

Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jgrice@rismedia.com.

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