Issue Update: Association Health Plans

Issue Update: Association Health Plans

On Wednesday (June 20), the US Department of Labor issued new rules regarding association health plans (AHP) and health insurance options for non-traditional workers. Since REALTORS® are primarily independent contractors, creating greater abilities for coverage has been a key priority for NAR and they have submitted numerous comments throughout the rulemaking process. With the passage of these rules, it is important that we clarify a couple of the key points and give you more information about what this might mean for you.

The NC REALTORS® Government Affairs team is regularly communicating with federal and state partners to get the most current information and will update this page as needed.


  • The new rules published June 19, 2018, will allow AHPs to provide coverage to self-employed individuals, who were previously kept out of group plans.
  • Existing associations can expand coverage or new associations can be formed to provide coverage. The can do so under either the new or old federal AHP rules.
  • The rule specifically states that covering individuals under AHPs cannot be used as “grounds for finding joint employer status” under the IRS rules. This means that independent contractors will remain independent, not employees.


  • Plans cannot deny coverage or set pricing for health reasons or past claims history. They can, however, use age, gender, and race as determining factors for rates.
  • These plans cannot supersede state law —Unfortunately, North Carolina law currently only allows these types of plans for “employees”, not independent contractors, so legislative action would need to be taken to create these types of plans.
  • Become effective immediately. The effective date for any new AHPs is April 1, 2019.


The NC REALTORS® Government Affairs team is actively reviewing the new AHP rules, their applicability to current North Carolina insurance law, and what options may exist for NC REALTORS® members. More information will be provided as it becomes available.


Following the release of the rules, NC REALTORS® Chief Executive Officer Andrea Bushnell offered the following statement:

“As we travel the state and speak to our members, one of the top concerns continues to be the rising costs of health insurance and the limited options for independent contractors. Due to year over year rising costs, and the repeal of the mandate in the ACA, many of our members are having to make the difficult decision to forgo insurance coverage. They need and deserve other options to provide health care for themselves and their families.

While today’s actions by the US Department of Labor represent an important step forward in making needed coverage options available, more work still needs to be done at the state level to open access for our members. Staff continues to engage with the North Carolina Department of Insurance and other state partners to determine the needed steps forward to provide coverage options for members in the future.”

For more information about the statement offered by the National Association of REALTORS®, please visit


NC REALTORS® is a non-profit trade association, representing more than 43,000 members and 48 local associations throughout the state of North Carolina. NC REALTORS® serves to promote the success of its members and enhance the quality of life in North Carolina by promoting housing affordability and the protection of private property rights. Founded in 1921, the association is headquartered in Greensboro, with an additional office in Raleigh. For more information on the association, visit

Filed Under: ,