FSI CEO and President Dale Brown.

The Department of Labor’s proposed rule expanding access to association health care plans would open the door to providing investment advisors with access to affordable, quality health care, the Financial Services Institute told Labor in a Monday comment letter.

As it stands now, FSI’s advisor members can access such benefits as group and individual long-term disability insurance, accident, gap, group term-life and succession planning through FSI’s CoveredAdvisor plan.

Fifteen percent of FSI’s total membership (including both IBD firms and financial advisors) is enrolled in CoveredAdvisor, which does not currently offer general health insurance.

“Quality, affordable health care coverage is something our advisor members have been asking for years for us to provide,” said FSI spokesman Chris Paulitz. 

If Labor’s rule is finalized, “it would be a welcome development for many of our members.”

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last October directing Labor to consider expanding access to association health care plans.

Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration is taking comments on the proposed rule until March 6.

“FSI has heard the numerous concerns of its financial advisor members who, over the last few years, have faced ever-growing health

care premiums and deductibles,” FSI General Counsel David Bellaire told Labor in the comment letter.

Bellaire said that FSI applaud EBSA’s efforts “to allow associations to provide health insurance to members through association health plans (AHPs) that can be tailored to fit the group’s unique needs and take advantage of economies of scale otherwise unavailable to small businesses,” and urged EBSA to “expeditiously adopt this important” proposed rule.

Under the plan, small employers can “band together as an association to purchase health coverage allows them to share costs and the administrative burden,” Bellaire wrote. “Currently, it is prohibitively expensive for small businesses to provide employer-sponsored benefits.”

While enrollment in FSI’s CoveredAdvisor Benefits Plan grown “each year and millions of dollars in benefits paid to advisors and their families,” the 35,000 independent financial advisor FSI members, of which 13% are currently enrolled in CoveredAdvisor, would benefit from the new plans, Bellaire said.