The Confusing Morass of Association Health Plan Regulation

Many folks have asked for explanations and guidance on the creation or continuation of association health plans (AHPs) in Washington State. The tortured history of AHP regulation in this state defies any imposition of rational thought, let alone legal explanation. Here’s one example that you can mull over while you’re parked on the interstate. Just…

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Update: Association Health Plans Withdraw Complaints

Following a still unreleased settlement between the Business Health Trusts (BHT) and the Washington Insurance Commissioner (OIC), BHT attorneys withdrew the remaining administrative and federal court actions challenging the OIC denial of BHT’s “bona fide” association status under ERISA. The withdraw of the administrative appeals can be found here and withdraw of the Oregon federal court…

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Federal Case Settled by BHT and OIC

In my last update on the association health plan litigation, I wondered how the Seattle federal judge might view the Business Health Trusts argument that the trusts are “bona fide” large employer association plans under ERISA. We’ll never know. Yesterday, the Seattle federal judge signed a Stipulated Order of Dismissal ending the case. The order is short on…

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Judge Rules Against Commissioner in AHP Rate Challenge

On July 1st, administrative law Judge Finkle granted summary judgment to Cambia, the Master Builders Association (MBA Trust), Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW Trust), and Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA Trust). The judge’s ruling permits an association qualifying as a bona fide employer health plan under ERISA to calculate and charge separate health plan rates…

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Insurance Commissioner Responds to BHT

The Washington Insurance Commissioner (OIC) stepped up its game and offered its clearest explanation yet as to why the OIC rejected the Seattle Chamber of Commerce association health plan reorganization. On June 1st, the OIC responded to the Business Health Trusts (BHT) motion for summary judgment in Seattle federal court, concluding: “Plaintiffs lack standing, and…

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AHPs go to Spokane to sue Insurance Commissioner

In 2007, a Spokane superior court judge ruled that the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) could not ignore state law exempting association health plans (AHPs) from the Washington State community rating law. Using HIPAA as an excuse, the OIC had argued that associations could not charge employer members of the AHP different rates. Instead, the Commissioner argued that an association had to…

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