IDAHO (June 12, 2019) — The Idaho REALTORS® have joined the National Association of REALTORS® amicus brief in defense of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Association Health Plan rule. Amicus briefs are legal documents filed in court cases by non-litigants that have a strong interest in the subject matter in question. Earlier this year, a federal court ruled that provisions of the federal rule were unlawful, a ruling adversely impacting REALTORS® seeking more cost effective and comprehensive health insurance solutions through association health plans.
“Passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act resulted in significant regulatory changes to the individual insurance market, some of which have benefited REALTORS®,” the brief reads. “However, ACA changes have also resulted in significant increases in health care costs, leaving many individuals to forgo coverage, which jeopardizes the health, safety and financial stability of their families and others.”
Idaho REALTORS®, along with other local associations in Idaho, including Boise Regional REALTORS®, has agreed to join NAR in protecting AHPs, which has been the subject of litigation since shortly after the rule was finalized in June of last year.
To date, over 3,000 REALTORS® and their families have found cost-effective health insurance solutions through association health plans. Many more REALTOR® associations are also exploring AHP options but have been delayed due to this litigation uncertainty. “The wellbeing and healthcare coverage of our members – REALTORS® who go to work every day to secure the American dream of homeownership for others– remains our focus throughout this litigation. Supporting the Department of Labor’s rulemaking will continue to help safeguard self-employed individuals’ ability to join association health plans, protecting affordable, quality health care options for our members and their loved ones.” said Idaho REALTORS® President, Raphael Barta.
NAR’s amicus brief discusses DOL’s lawful authority to expand access to AHPs by interpreting the working owner provisions to promote flexibility while not conflicting with existing statutes. NAR also describes the comprehensiveness of AHP coverage and the many successful plans already in place that are resulting in significant savings and benefits to many working owners.
If the courts final ruling is adverse and pending any appeals, independent contractors may lose the ability to access insurance coverage through an AHP, sacrificing valuable savings on premiums, and broader network access with more comprehensive benefits. Overall, AHP plans have proven to have lower cost options and better overall coverage, leading countless sole proprietors and small employers alike to purchase association health plans over the past year. Phil Mount, 2019 Boise Regional REALTORS® President and REALTOR® with Amherst Madison Legacy Real Estate stated, “It was important for us to sign onto the amicus brief and support expanding access to AHP’s. If successful, we will be helping bring affordable health insurance options to millions of individuals and families throughout the United States, as well as Idaho.”
“While NAR continues to explore and tackle barriers to a national AHP insurance option, we are learning from the many successes being implemented by state and local REALTOR® associations,” NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation REALTOR® from Edina, Minnesota, said. “These initial programs are helping us ensure our members and their families can secure these effective, affordable health insurance options moving forward. We must continue to protect the AHP options that so many REALTORS® have come to rely on for coverage and so many more deserve access to.”
Idaho REALTORS®, the voice of real estate in Idaho, promotes the business interests of its members, advances the high standards of business conduct expressed in the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and protects private property rights.