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 Clay Wortham in the Lexington office. He can be reached at email@example.com or at (859) 231-8780.
McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC