This week, JLF’s Jordan Roberts published a research brief focusing on Association Health Plans (AHPs). According to Roberts, these health plans have been receiving much attention since the passage of Senate Bill 86. Roberts writes:

SB 86: Small Business Health Care Act… would provide new opportunities for small businesses and self-employed owners to be classified as a large employer and thus able to purchase health insurance through an association. These are called association health plans (AHP).

Allowing small businesses to purchase insurance on the “large group” market would present them with broader and cheaper options for health insurance coverage. Roberts explains:

“The individual market, small-group market, and large-employer markets are each regulated separately under the ACA. Large-employer plans enjoy a much more favorable regulatory treatment compared to small-group and individual plans that are sold in state marketplaces. At the heart of the debate surrounding association health plans is the question of when an association group should be classified as a large-employer to receive the same beneficial regulatory treatment.”

Roberts writes:

The decision to allow AHPs in North Carolina is about providing our citizens with choices for health care. Too many individuals in the small and individual markets struggle to afford the current options being offered to them through the ACA exchanges… We should not assume that we know the health care needs of these individuals better than they do themselves. Let’s give them the option to choose for themselves whether or not an AHP is the right health plan for them and their families.

Read the full brief here. Read more of Roberts’ coverage of AHPS here and here.