Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce plans to create a statewide Association Health Plan under new rules rolled out by President Donald Trump’s administration.
The state’s chamber of commerce and manufacturers association is in the process of creating a plan that its officials say will provide affordable health care coverage for employers to offer their employees. WMC expects to begin offering a plan to its members in the coming months.
AHPs allow small- and medium-sized businesses to band together to purchase health coverage as part of an association. The U.S. Department of Labor recently approved new rules that loosen the rules for AHPs, including providing exemptions from certain mandated coverage included in the Affordable Care Act.
AHPs offer the possibility of reducing businesses’ health care costs because of those exemptions. However, the deregulation of AHPs has been criticized by some who have said it will make coverage more expenses for those remaining on ACA exchanges.
Kurt Bauer, president and chief executive officer of WMC, applauded the Trump administration’s decision to loosen the rules regulating AHPs.
“Containing health care costs for employers has been a problem for businesses for decades, and now, thanks to the current administration in Washington, WMC has an important new tool to assist our members,” Bauer said.
WMC’s decision to create a AHP comes amid skyrocketing health care costs both nationally and in Wisconsin, WMC said. Employers’ health care costs are particularly concerning amid current labor shortages, WMC said. Businesses need to offer competitive benefits to attract quality employees, but the rising costs of insurance have made that a major financial burden.
In its most economic survey, rising health care costs were the second highest public policy concern after labor availability.