Sarah Borders, CEBS June 3, 2024 3 min read

DOL Issues Final Rules to Rescind 2018 AHP Rules

The Department of Labor recently finalized an earlier proposal to rescind the 2018 rules that were intended to expand the availability of association health plans (AHPs).

Prior to the 2018 rules, multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs) were treated as a single ERISA plan only if it was established by an association of employers with an organizational relationship and control of the association. The 2018 rules attempted to create more flexibility under the “commonality of interest test” and allowed working owners without common law employees to participate in an AHP. However, portions of the regulations were vacated in 2019, which made the fate of the regulations unclear. 

In an attempt to “resolve and mitigate any uncertainty,” the DOL final rule rescinds the 2018 AHP regulations entirely.

The DOL guidance published after the 2019 court ruling prohibited AHPs formed under the regulations from marketing to and signing up new members, so there may be very few AHPs that would be affected by this rescission. Nonetheless, rescinding the 2018 rules resolves any remaining ambiguity.


Sarah Borders, CEBS

Principal, Benefits Compliance Solutions. Sarah has spent the last 15 years in the employee benefits industry, has numerous designations and serves on NAHU’s Employer Working Group Subcommittee and is an active board member of Austin AHU. She recently stepped down as Vice President of Benefits Compliance at one of the nation's largest brokerage firms to start her own compliance consulting practice. Her designations include an active license with the Texas Department of Insurance, CEBS (Certified Employee Benefits Specialist), Certified Health Care Reform Professional, HIPAA certification and Health Care Service Associate. She holds an MBA from Texas A&M Corpus Christi and a BA from University of Incarnate Word. Her consulting firm, Benefits Compliance Solutions, partners with employers to identify unknown risks and avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and lawsuits from failure to comply with their healthplan obligations.