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Federal Action Expanding Access to Quality, Affordable Health Coverage for Millions of Americans Employed by Small Businesses

June 20th, 2018 Comments off

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Since the passage for ObamaCare – the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA) – manufactured housing industry businesses of all sizes have been wrestling with the consequences of the law.

The Daily Business News won’t call the effects of the ACA or ObamaCare “unintended consequences” because MIT’s Jonathan Gruber is on video saying that Americans were stupid and uniformed enough to buy the lies being peddled to them. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” – deception or lying – said Gruber in the second video below.

 

But that was then.

The GOP was one vote short – Senator John McCain’s – from a full repeal of ObamaCare, but they did manage to pass a provision in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act that struck down the ACA’s individual mandate.  But that still left the higher costs of health care in place.

The White House and the Department of Labor (DOL) have been working on that problem.  Yesterday, in a statement to MHProNews, the DOL said the following.

President Trump is expanding affordable health coverage options for America’s small businesses and their employees. Many of our laws make healthcare coverage more expensive for small businesses than large companies. Association Health Plans are about more choice, more access, and more coverage.”

– Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta

 

On June 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor expanded access to affordable health coverage options for America’s small businesses and their employees through Association Health Plans,” the federal agency said to the Daily Business News in a release.

Association Health Plans [AHPs] work by allowing small businesses, including self-employed workers, to band together by geography or industry to obtain healthcare coverage as if they were a single large employer,” the Labor Department said.

Association Health Plans will also be able to strengthen negotiating power with providers from larger risk pools and greater economies of scale, the White House/DOL initiative explained.

The Department of Labor expanded access to Association Health Plans as a result of President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States.”

Avalere projects that some 3.2 million Americans will end up signing up for one of these plans.

Presidential Executive Order Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States 2017 ManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

DOL Frequently Asked Questions

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How do Association Health Plans work?

  • Association Health Plans (AHPs), under the Department of Labor’s rule, are group health plans that employer groups and associations offer to provide health coverage for employees.
  • AHPs allow small employers to band together to purchase the types of coverage that are available to large employers, which can be less expensive and better tailored to the needs of their employees.
  • The rule allows more employer groups and associations to form AHPs, based on common geography or industry.
  • An AHP could offer coverage to some or all employers in a state, city, county, or a multi-state metro area, or it could offer coverage to businesses in a trade or industry group nationwide.
  • For the first time, working owners without other employees (including sole-proprietors) and their families will be permitted to join AHPs, creating a new path for these hardworking Americans to access affordable, quality health coverage.

 

Are AHPs subject to consumer protections?

  • The rule includes important safeguards. Consumer protections and healthcare anti-discrimination protections apply to large businesses and will also apply to AHPs organized under this rule.
  • AHPs may not charge higher premiums or deny coverage to people because of pre-existing conditions, or cancel coverage because an employee becomes ill.

 

Can AHPs cherry pick plan participants or discriminate based on health factors?

  • No. AHPs cannot cherry pick or discriminate based on health or prior conditions.
  • The rule includes important safeguards. Consumer protections and healthcare anti-discrimination protections apply to large businesses and will also apply to AHPs organized under this rule.

 

Can AHPs vary premiums based on health factors?

  • No. AHPs will not be able to charge different premiums to employees based on their health status.
  • Additionally, AHPs under this rule will not be able to charge employers different rates based on the health status of their employees.
  • The rule includes important safeguards. Consumer protections and healthcare anti-discrimination protections apply to large businesses and will also apply to AHPs organized under this rule.

 

How does the rule expand coverage options for the self-employed?

  • Self-employed individuals who employ other individuals have always been able to join an AHP.
  • Under the rule, self-employed individuals with no other employees can also join an AHP, along with their families.

 

Will states still have regulatory oversight of AHPs under the final rule?

  • Yes. The final rule does not diminish state oversight, which remains in place.
  • States will share enforcement authority with the federal government.

 

Does this rule impact existing AHPs?

  • No. The new rule does not affect previously existing AHPs, which were allowed under prior guidance.
  • Such plans can continue to operate as before, or elect to follow the new requirements if they want to expand within a geographic area, regardless of industry, or to cover the self-employed.
  • New plans can also form and elect to follow either the old guidance or the new rules.

 

Did the Department of Labor consider comments it received in writing the rule?

  • Yes. The Department carefully considered all of the approximately 900 comments received during the rulemaking process.
  • The final rule summarizes and discusses the comments as part of the preamble.

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Related Reports:

Huge Shortage of Doctors Looming, Is ObamaCare the Fix or Blame?

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Pro-ObamaCare, anti-GOP health care reform protestors. Data, charts, facts. Credit, HotAir. Related report, at this link here.

 

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Housing Recovery Passing over First-time Prospects

April 9th, 2013 Comments off

Laurie Maggiano, policy director for the U. S. Treasury’s Homeownership Preservation Office, says many people continue to be left out of the housing recovery, and if fact are still struggling, and how the Obama administration hopes to change that. A partnership between the Treasury and NeighborWorks America will reach out through the Making Homes Affordable Program to assist homeowners in submitting documents to their servicers at no charge. The Dept. of Labor is encouraging their centers around the country to inform unemployed homeowners of foreclosure prevention options. In addition, the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will establish the Housing Counseling Office set in motion by Dodd-Frank to provide information on avoiding foreclosure, as well as basic homeownership programs. As HousingWire informs MHProNews, Maggiano says from 2007 to 2012, for those with a FICO score over 780, new home purchases dropped 30 percent. During that same time, new home sales fell 90 percent for those with scores between 620 and 680, often first-time home buyers and those who have recently been hit with unemployment.

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Jobless Claims Drop

January 1st, 2013 Comments off

The Associated Press reports in a further sign the job market is improving, first-time jobless claims fell to a seasonally-adjusted 350,000 last week, the lowest level since March 2008. The four-week average of 356,750 is almost a five-year low. However, since many state unemployment offices were closed Mon. and Tue. of last week and could not provide exact numbers, the Labor Dept. relied on estimates from 19 states in calculating its figures. As MHProNews has learned, although the government’s estimates are generally accurate, revised figures will likely be released.

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Employment Figures not Expected to be Robust

July 5th, 2012 Comments off

Anchorage Daily News states weekly unemployment benefit applications fell 14,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 374,000 according to the U.S Dept. of Labor, the fewest in six weeks. While economists predict only 90,000 jobs were added last month, payroll provider ADP counts 176,000 jobs added in June. ADP only measures private sector jobs, not government workers. The labor department said employers added an average of 73,000 jobs in April and May, well below the 223,000 average for the first three months of the year. The total number of people receiving benefits fell 20,000 for the week ending June 16. With retail sales and manufacturing down for June, the economy only expanding at a 1.9 percent rate Jan.–March of this year, and consumer confidence falling in June for the fourth consecutive month, it is not anticipated job growth will be very high.

(Image credit: jobsearch/Karen Roach)