The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has supported efforts to increase small businesses’ health insurance options through what are known as Association Health Plans (AHPs) for more than a decade. Given the increased purchasing power and wider insurance pool that comes from banding together, AHPs often offer the potential of better care and lower costs—a top priority for manufacturers.
With that in mind, the NAM welcomed the news today that the Department of Labor plans to reform regulations to expand small businesses’ access to AHPs:
The U.S. Department of Labor is helping millions of working Americans gain access to quality, affordable health insurance for themselves and their families.
Many small businesses and their employees have struggled with government restrictions that limit access to quality, affordable health coverage. This Association Health Plan (AHP) reform will address many of the inequities between small and large businesses in access to that coverage.
Many small business owners cannot afford to offer health insurance to their employees. The percentage of small businesses offering health care coverage has been dropping substantially. For the self-employed, the individual market exchanges do not offer affordable coverage either; premiums more than doubled between 2013 and 2017 with deductibles increasing even more.
This reform allows small employers—many of whom are facing much higher premiums and fewer coverage options as a result of Obamacare—a greater ability to join together and gain many of the regulatory advantages enjoyed by large employers.
Manufacturers have a proud tradition of providing health care to employees, which is why the NAM is eager to advance additional market-based policy changes that can expand coverage even further while reducing health care costs at the same time. AHPs offer an important pathway to get there, and we believe it is time to make this health care option more widely available to smaller manufacturers and their employees.
Lowering health care costs has long been a top priority for manufacturers. AHPs offer an important market-based pathway to expanded health care coverage and lower health care costs, and manufacturers believe it is time to make this option more widely available to smaller companies and their employees.
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