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.
According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the change holds promise for real estate professionals who seek coverage, but it will not yet help Realtors seeking more affordable healthcare coverage because, as it currently stands, Trump's order doesn't include independent contractors.
"The White House announcement is an important part of the work to expand health coverage opportunities," says William E. Brown, president of NAR. "Association health plans have long offered promise for small-business owners and self-employed individuals seeking affordable health coverage."
Brown says that NAR is currently reviewing the specifics of the latest proposal to determine what kind of aid it might offer to "self-employed individuals such as real estate professionals."
Under the order, Trump is directed the Department of Labor to write guidelines allowing small employers to band together to form association health plans and purchase coverage as a single unit 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 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 long supported legislation that enables the creation of association health plans and expanded health insurance options for real estate professionals, who are mostly independent contractors; and Brown says NAR will continue to work with the administration and Congress to make association health plans a workable option for Realtors.