Forum Session

Preempting State Authority to Regulate Association Plans: Where Might It Take Us?
October 15, 1997


Karl Polzer


This Forum meeting explored the potential impact of legislation passed by the House of Representatives to federalize regulation of association health plans. As the Senate began holding hearings on a companion bill, concern had been raised that preempting current state authority to regulate association health plans might fragment insurance markets and do serious damage to recently enacted state and federal insurance reforms, with no overall increase in health insurance coverage. On the other side, many small businesses and associations argued that the federal government could help them lower their health benefit costs and offer more coverage to workers by licensing both insured and self-insured association plans and freeing them from state benefit mandates, taxes, and rating requirements. Also on the table for discussion was how much it might cost the federal government to effectively regulate self-insured association plans and whether the legislation passed by the House would allocate sufficient resources to do so.


Lisa Carroll, Vice President, Plan Services, Small Business Service Bureau, Inc.; Gerard Connelly, Executive Vice President, W. F. Morneau & Associates; Paul Harrington, Majority Health Policy Director, Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources; Meredith Miller, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, Department of Labor; Russ Mueller, Actuary/Professional Staff Member--Majority, Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations, House Committee on Education and the Workforce; Fred Nepple, General Counsel, Wisconsin Department of Insurance; Sue Nestor, Executive Director, Legislative Policy, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association; Joseph Rossmann, CEBS, Vice President, ABC Insurance Trust, Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc.; Gordon Trapnell, President, Actuarial Research Corporation; Neil Trautwein, Manager, Health Care Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Fran Wallace, Director, Health Benefit Plans Division, Michigan Insurance Bureau

Related Materials

More information available in the accompanying publication, Issue Brief No. 707.

See also "Health Insurance Coverage for Small Employers" (Background Paper, April 19, 2005).

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