BULLETIN B 02-14
TO: ALL LICENSEES TRANSACTING HEALTH INSURANCE IN ALASKA
AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES
RE: UNAUTHORIZED HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS
As the cost of health care increases and consumers seek more affordable
health insurance coverage, licensed producers are often approached
by unauthorized entities to sell their health insurance plans to
individuals and employers in Alaska. The Alaska Division of Insurance
has become aware of several entities that may be offering health
insurance coverage without a license. These entities may call themselves
"ERISA exempt," "ERISA plan," "union plans,"
"association plans," or some other similar term. In many
cases, these plans are multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs)
that are subject to Alaska insurance laws. These entities claim
that they are not subject to state regulation because of the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). However, states have explicit
authority under ERISA to regulate MEWAs, including self-insured
MEWAs, and they must be licensed by the division and comply with
Alaska insurance law in order to offer health insurance coverage
Certain ERISA plans and union plans may be exempt from state insurance
regulation. But legitimate ERISA or union plans are not sold
or solicited by insurance producers. They are established by unions
for their members or by employers for the employer’s own employees.
Please read the information provided by these entities carefully.
Consider the following list of circumstances and plan characteristics
that should prompt your careful investigation, including contacting
the Alaska Division of Insurance:
- The health plan operates like insurance but claims that it is
- You are asked to avoid certain insurance terminology, even though
the plan operates like insurance.
- The plan is covered only by stop loss insurance or refers to
- You are asked to sell an ERISA plan or union plan.
- You are asked to sell an "employee leasing" arrangement
with self-funded health coverage.
- The plan targets individuals or groups with employees that have
- The plan advertises unusually low premiums or unusually generous
benefits, low or no minimum participation requirements, or little
or no underwriting.
If you are asked by an entity to sell health insurance coverage
that is represented to be exempt from insurance regulation under
ERISA or is represented to be a union plan, the entity may be operating
illegally. A licensee that solicits insurance on behalf of an unlicensed
insurer is subject to suspension or revocation of its license, possible
criminal prosecution, and monetary penalties.
If you are approached by an entity that seems suspicious or have
any concerns about a product that you have been asked to market
or sell, contact the Alaska Division of Insurance by phone at 907-269-7900
by fax at 907-269-7910, or by e-mail at
Dated: July 11, 2002