After President Donald Trump signed an executive order allowing small businesses to form “health associations” to purchase group insurance plans outside Obamacare exchanges, at least one prominent business group has come out in tentative support.
“Association Health Plans (AHPs) are a success story in Washington state, so it’s not a surprise the president would look to them as a way to improve health care at the national level,” said Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business.
As Johnson referenced, a similar system of off-market plans is already in place in Washington.
“Created in 1995 by Gov. Mike Lowry, Washington’s AHPs help ensure small employers can provide affordable health insurance to their employees. AHPs have gained popularity over the years, insuring as many as 400,000 people, because they are high-quality plans with built-in consumer protections such as guaranteed issue (nobody can be denied coverage). They are fully insured, they comply with state and federal mandates, and they do not rely on federal or state government subsidies. Historically, 40 percent of employers participating in AWB’s HealthChoice AHP were previously uninsured.
“The success of the president’s order will depend on the details of how it is implemented, but we welcome action that will expand coverage and reduce cost to high-quality health care. We hope that Washington’s successful AHP market will serve as a model for the rest of the nation.”