NU Online News Service, Feb. 22, 12:15 p.m. – The National Association of Health Underwriters, Arlington, Va., is warning health insurance agents and brokers against doing business with multistate health plans that lack proper state insurance licenses in the states where they sell coverage.

Many of the plans claim to be exempt from state insurance laws under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, but, for the most part, the only plans exempt from state insurance laws are those set up by stand-alone employers for their own employees, or unions for their own members, NAHU says.

Multistate, multi-employer plans meet the definition of multiple employer welfare arrangements, which are subject to state insurance laws, according to a bulletin issued by Janice Kupiec, NAHU’s's legislative communications manager.

Involvement in MEWAs that fail to comply with state insurance laws could result in an agent losing his or her license, Kupiec warns.

Because of the hardening health insurance marketplace, “it appears that there may be a resurgence of these sham plans nationwide,” Kupiec says.