President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday to get the ball rolling on the creation of association healthcare plans. It’s intended to help small employers access more affordable health insurance coverage for their employees. Such a direction may hold promise for real estate professionals if the administration proposes new rules that would include independent contractors—but currently, that’s not part of the program.
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“The White House announcement is an important part of the work to expand health coverage opportunities,” William E. Brown, president of the National Association of REALTORS®, said in a statement Thursday. “Association health plans have long offered promise for small-business owners and self-employed individuals seeking affordable health coverage. NAR is reviewing the specifics of the proposal to determine the promise that it may offer self-employed individuals such as real estate professionals.”
Under the order, Trump is directing the Department of Labor to write guidelines allowing small employers to band together to form association health plans and purchase coverage in the large group health insurance market, which is exempt from some regulations of the Affordable Care Act. The order also directs the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury to look at expanding the length of short-term insurance policies for individuals and modifying rules governing employer-offered health reimbursement accounts to fund employee healthcare expenses.
NAR has been a longtime supporter of legislation that would enable the creation of association health plans and expanded health insurance options for real estate professionals, who are mostly independent contractors. Brown said NAR will continue to work with the administration and Congress to make association health plans a workable option for REALTORS®.
—Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine