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Association Group Coverage Changes

Trade Associations in Kentucky are being asked to show that they meet ERISA “bona fide association” requirements in order to continue to provide group health insurance for their members under health reform requirements effective in 2014.  Such group health insurance may be a more affordable option for some businesses as new health reform requirements begin to take effect.

In a nutshell, ERISA requires that an association be considered an “employer” to sponsor a group health plan at the association level.  In order to qualify as an “employer”, an association must meet bona fide association requirements, including like-industry and participant control requirements.  By sponsoring a group health insurance plan at the association (rather than the individual employer) level, associations are able to pass along to their employer members reduced coverage premiums available under large group plans.

Important health reform changes are applicable to insurance plan renewals occurring on or after January 1, 2014.  Trade associations should act now to confirm that they are structured to be eligible to purchase group insurance coverage, if their member benefits include health care coverage.  If you need help restructuring your association for this purpose or have questions, contact the attorneys at McBrayer.

This article is intended as a summary of federal or state law and does not constitute legal advice.

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