Feodora / stock.adobe.com
Association-provided health insurance, a benefit of AVMA membership for nearly 60 years before regulatory changes precipitated an end to those plans in 2013, will again be available to AVMA members in several states beginning in July, the association announced recently.
Joe Kinnarney, DVM, chairman of AVMA Life Trust, revealed during the 2019 Veterinary Leadership Conference in Chicago that the trust was working to develop an association health plan for AVMA members, according to a release from the group.
AVMA Life, formerly known as AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust (GHLIT), stopped offering health insurance in 2013 because of provisions in the Affordable Care Act, the release states. However, a 2018 regulation by the U.S. Department of Labor made it possible for small businesses to band together through associations (by location or industry) to offer healthcare insurance for their employees.
Though the situation is complex and the laws vary by state, several states will allow association health plans in 2019, the release continues. The AVMA Trust says it's developing a program to provide affordable, competitive health insurance to AVMA members and their employees in these states.
“I am so excited to make the first public announcement that AVMA Life Trust will begin offering healthcare plans to our members,” Dr. Kinnarney says in the release. “This is a big win for our members. As the program gradually rolls out, more and more AVMA members will be able to provide competitive benefits to their employees.”
On July 1, the AVMA association health plan will be available to AVMA member practices with between two and 50 employees in at least 10 states. The program will build over time.
“Generations of veterinarians benefited from the health insurance program offered as part of their AVMA membership, so it was a major blow when this option was taken away in 2013,” says AVMA President John de Jong, DVM, in the release. “Now, after years of hard work and advocacy, the AVMA will be able to roll out an association health plan that will benefit many of our members, and we couldn't be more pleased.”