In June 2018, the Department of Labor issued its final rule expanding the types of groups that could participate and administer Association Health Plans (AHPs). The new rule is intended to give small groups and self-employed individuals access to lower-cost health insurance. It has the potential to draw lower-cost enrollees out of the small group and individual insurance markets, increasing premiums in those markets. It also can be viewed as a test of how much the health insurance market has evolved over the past 2 decades.
William S. Custer, PhD, is director of the Center for Health Services Research in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. Previously he was the director of research at the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining EBRI, Dr. Custer was an economist in the Center for Health Policy Research at the American Medical Association, and served as assistant professor of economics at Northern Illinois University.