Anchorage, Alaska — A recent federal court decision forces the Alaska Chamber to pause its efforts to offer comprehensive health coverage at a reasonable cost to their members.
The March 28 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia invalidated a portion of the Department of Labor's (DOL) final rule expanding the range of association health plans (AHP). In the 43-page ruling, Senior District Judge John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that two provisions of the DOL’s final rule governing AHPs were unlawful. The agency created the final rule in response to an executive order issued in October 2017 by President Trump.
The executive order led to the creation of approximately 35 new AHPs. Many were sponsored by chambers of commerce and other business groups. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is collecting information on state and local chamber AHPs to demonstrate the significant ramifications of last week’s decision, particularly for individuals and businesses that currently have affordable health-care coverage through an AHP that has now been called into question. That information may be relevant to whether Judge Bates’ ruling should be stayed pending any appeal by the DOL.
“Even though this national court ruling pauses our efforts, we are still looking at every option to bring an Association Health Plan to life in Alaska to help small business owners and employees,” said Albert Fogle, Vice President of the Alaska Chamber.
In consultation with attorneys, the Alaska Division of Insurance Director Lori Wing-Heier, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, our general agent and local brokers, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska Chamber is seeking a path forward.
About the Alaska Chamber
The Alaska Chamber is a non-profit founded in 1953 working to promote a positive business environment in Alaska. The Chamber is the voice of small and large business representing more than 800 businesses, manufacturers, and local chambers from across Alaska. Our member companies employ over 100,000 hard-working Alaskans. The Chamber supports and encourages a positive investment climate that provides certainty and stability for Alaska. View a list of our current priorities and positions at alaskachamber.com/priorities-and-positions.