Posted on October 13, 2017 by Jorie Helms

President Trump shakes hands with NAHB First Vice Chair Randy Noel after signing the executive order.

President Trump today signed an executive order that would ease restrictions on association health plans and health reimbursement accounts to create more options for small businesses to provide health benefits to their employees.

NAHB has long led the fight in support of association health plans, which would grant small businesses access to better and more affordable health care plans, allow them to negotiate lower costs for coverage, and level the playing field for smaller firms that want to help their workers and their families with their health care needs.

Attending the White House signing ceremony, NAHB First Vice Chairman Randy Noel said the president’s executive order “would empower home building firms such as my own and countless other small businesses to pool together through association health plans to purchase health insurance. This would put small businesses on an equal footing with large employers and unions when it comes to negotiating lower insurance rates.”

Moreover, the executive order would expand the use of health reimbursement arrangements, which allow small businesses to offer pre-tax dollars to insured employees to help pay premiums and/or other out-of-pocket costs associated with medical care and services.

The IRS issued guidance in 2013 prohibiting the use of health reimbursement arrangements and NAHB led the charge to pass legislation in 2016 that would not only reinstate their use, but also abolish punitive IRS penalties associated with them.

While the president’s executive order is an important step forward to address the issue of health care affordability for America’s employers, much more needs to be done to make the expansion of association health plans a reality.

It is still unclear what actions federal agencies will take to implement the changes outlined in the executive order and how states will respond to the presidential directive.

With small employers struggling to find affordable health care in the marketplace, NAHB will continue to work with the White House, Congress, and state and federal regulators to ensure the president’s executive order can be enacted across the nation.

For more information, contact Alexis Moch at 800-368-5242 x8407.

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