Multi-Employer Plans and the Exchanges

Multi-Employer and union-sponsored plans, which have provided health insurance coverage to millions of union workers, must be allowed to coexist with the insurance exchanges. This coexistence can ensure that more Americans, not just union members, have greater access to health insurance coverage. Otherwise, the rising number of uninsured and the growing costs of health care will remain a challenging public policy issue, according to an analysis by Daniel Wolak, president of The Union Labor Life Insurance Company and acting president of Ullico Casualty Company.

One way is through the ACA’s premium income tax credit provision to help low to moderate-income people and families afford coverage through the exchanges.  Multi-employer plans can provide comprehensive coverage and support the integrity of the exchanges if union workers are eligible for this income tax credit. This eligibility will help to offset the workers’ premium costs and ensure that they can continue to receive their coverage as part of an insured group. In addition, it will allow employers, who provide coverage through collectively bargained plans, to continue offering health insurance to their workers and control their own insurance costs.

The alternative is for employers to discontinue their multi-employer plans, leaving participants a choice: purchase coverage on their own through the exchanges or pay a penalty. If faced with this choice, it is possible that union workers, who have affordable benefits, will not buy ealth insurance if their only option is through the exchanges. These potential interruptions in health care coverage will negate the two primary goals of the PPACA — reducing the number of uninsured and the overall cost of health care. For more information, visit

Last Updated 06/29/2022

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