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Scales of justice In theory, an AHP can help small employers self-ensure and avoid state insurance rules by letting them combine to act as one big employer. (Credit: Thinkstock)

Three judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit are thinking about whether the U.S. Department of Labor has the authority to loosen the rules that determine what kinds of employers can unite to act as one employer for association health plan (AHP) purposes.

The judges heard oral arguments on State of New York et al. v. the U.S. Department of Labor et al. (Case Number 19-5125) — a suit brought by officials in New York state and other states that want tight restrictions on AHP — last week in Washington.

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