first_imgVermont Business Magazine The Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) today filed emergency regulations and proposed final rules in response to the United States Department of Labor’s (DOL) June 19 final rule on Association Health Plans (AHPs). The emergency rule is effective immediately. Both rules filed today govern only fully-insured AHPs (i.e. AHPs that purchase coverage from an insurer and do not self-insure).The DOL rule greatly expands the ability of small businesses and self-employed workers to band together by geography or industry to provide health care coverage to their members as if they were a single large employer. The department engaged in emergency rulemaking to ensure new Vermont regulations are in place in advance of September 1, 2018 when fully-insured AHPs can be offered in Vermont. The simultaneously filed proposed final rules will provide an opportunity for full public participation and comment, including a public hearing.The emergency rules ensure the department meets the directive in Act 131 for the commissioner to adopt rules to “protect Vermont consumers and promote the stability of Vermont’s health insurance markets, to the extent permitted under federal law.”Michael Pieciak, DFR commissioner, emphasized the rules’ consumer-protection purpose: “Our team has put together a set of rules that, while allowing legitimate AHPs offering good coverage to operate, will ensure that Vermonters are protected from misleading practices and inadequate health coverage.”In early July Pieciak said in anticipation of Vermont filing emergency rules: “The final AHP rules do not preempt Vermont’s ability to regulate its insurance market and the department aims to craft regulations that ensure Vermonters are protected and well-served by these health plans,” he said. “In the past, similar plans that operated in other states, were poorly run and many were fraudulent, a well-regulated market will help prevent this from happening in Vermont.”The emergency regulations and proposed final rules(link is external) are published on the department’s website.The department also plans to promulgate rules governing self-insured AHPs in the fall of this year; self-insured AHPs cannot offer coverage in Vermont until January 1, 2019.Source: Vermont Department of Financial Regulationlast_img

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