The district court ruled these individuals are “working owners” and compelled the Labor Department to deem the insurance plan they are joining a single-employer health plan under ERISA.

What if you could enroll in a group health plan just by downloading a software program? Sounds a bit fishy, doesn’t it? But that’s the heart of an issue currently being considered by a federal appeals court, and the outcome could deal a devastating blow to the Affordable Care Act and state insurance regulations.

The U.S. Labor Department is fighting a decision from a federal judge in Texas that allowed two companies to offer health plans to individuals who agree to have their internet activity tracked and sold. Under the arrangement, individuals who agree to become “limited partners” of Data Marketing Partnership LP can join an employee health plan–just by downloading the company’s tracking software.

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