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Friday, June 7, 2019
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorneys for the Oklahoma Insurance Department filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in support of giving Oklahomans more health insurance options. The amicus brief is in response to a U.S. Department of Labor rule that was overturned by a Circuit Court judge.
“This rule, coupled with Oklahoma’s new AHP bill, gives small business owners in our state the chance to find affordable health insurance choices for their employees and their employees’ families,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready. “We’ve worked diligently this year to get Oklahoma’s laws up to compliance with the Department of Labor’s rule. But now a judge has ruled that it can’t stand, and we’re not backing down on this for the sake of all the uninsured Oklahomans.”
The rule allows more employers to form Association Health Plans (AHPs). AHPs are group health plans that employer groups and associations offer to provide health coverage for their members’ employees. Under the rule, employers can form AHPs by location, industry or other commonalities. The new rule also allowed small business owners without other employees, including sole proprietors and their families, to join AHPs.
The amicus curiae brief, or amicus brief, is filed on behalf of someone who is not a party to a case but would like to offer information or expertise. Montana joined Oklahoma on this brief, and other states are likely to join before the end of the month. Nine other states have passed similar legislation to Oklahoma’s which would allow small businesses to take advantage of the Department of Labor rule.
“Other states are interested in joining us because we believe in state-based regulation,” Commissioner Mulready said. “We believe that less government intervention and a more relaxed rule allows businesses to provide more options to their employees. This rule, coupled with our new state law, allows for that.”
Multiple groups and associations have already filed amicus briefs on behalf of their organization. The appeals case, U.S. Department of Labor v. State of New York, does not have a date set for oral arguments yet.
About the Oklahoma Insurance Department
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.
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