ABOUT THE EASE ALLIANCE

ERISA Access Serving Everyone (EASE) Alliance is a nonprofit that promotes alternatives to Obamacare for all including self-employed Americans, like real-estate agents, Uber drivers, and small business owners.

Voices

EASE Alliance

Raymond

Raymond has a message for President Trump: Stop the bureaucrats who are trying to take away his EASE health plan.

EASE Alliance is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit registered in the US at 3625 Cumberland Blvd, Atlanta, GA, 30339.

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EASE Alliance

Amber

Amber has a message for Washington Bureaucrats: If they outlaw her EASE health plan, they’re affecting her family’s health and financial security.

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News

Townhall

Putting The Uninsured At EASE: The Shot Trump Can’t Miss

If one is to believe the media, the last couple of weeks have rattled even the staunchest of President Trump’s supporters, raising questions as to whether he can turn the page and shore up enough support to secure a second term in the White House.

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DC Business Daily

DOL ruling on EASE health insurance plans puts 50,000 Americans at risk of losing coverage

Tens of thousands of Americans are at risk of losing affordable health insurance through EASE plans after the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) indicated that the plans violate a decades-old federal law on employee health plans.

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DC Business Daily

Department of Labor won’t allow workers to form insurance pool

Being without health insurance is always frightening, and not having it amid a pandemic that has led to the deaths of more than 95,000 Americans and infected more than 1.5 million people with coronavirus strikes many Americans as very wrong.

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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - TRACEY SCHMITT LINTOTT

Tracey Schmitt Lintott is a veteran Communications Strategist with over two decades of experience in the public, private and political sectors; including three presidential campaigns and the White House.

On the front lines of Republican politics, she has advised candidates and campaigns as the National Press Secretary for the Republican National Committee, a Spokeswoman for President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign, National Press Secretary for the 2005 Presidential Inaugural Committee, and the Deputy Communications Director and Spokeswoman for the McCain Presidential Campaign, in the fall of 2008.

​In the private sector, Tracey has counseled numerous business leaders and CEOs at the intersection of public relations, government relations, and public policy.

A graduate of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism, her graduate studies have included Executive Education programs at both the Harvard School of Business and Oxford University.

FAQ

What is an EASE plan?

EASE, which stands for ERISA Access Serving Everyone, supports plans that offer everyone including self-employed Americans, like real-estate agents, Uber drivers, and small business owners, the opportunity to form a partnership and gain access to affordable, flexible group health coverage. 

Self-employed individuals do not have the opportunity to purchase group health insurance plans through a traditional employer. More than twenty million self-employed people don’t have access to employer-sponsored plans or to Obamacare subsidies. Many of these individuals have been priced out of health insurance, as premiums and deductibles have risen, and do not qualify for subsidies. 

Under the law that governs employee benefit plans, a partnership is considered a single employer. Therefore, members of a partnership qualify to purchase group health insurance plans under ERISA.  

EASE Alliance supports plans that adhere to the following principles including: protection against discrimination, financial stability, compliance with federal law including ACA and ERISA, and access for self-employed individuals. 

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Who is EASE intended for?

Many different types of people, including the self-employed, independent contractors (including realtors, truckers, ride share drivers, seasonal and temp workers, and other members of the so-called “gig economy”), as well as employees of small, medium, and even large companies that do not offer comprehensive health plans.  Many of these people do not qualify for Obamacare subsidies, due to income, immigration status, or other factors. 

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How does EASE work?

EASE provides a structure under which people who do not have access to traditional employer-sponsored health coverage can nevertheless participate in large group market plans under ERISA. Certain companies which are structured as partnerships may serve as ERISA plan sponsors, and by becoming limited partners, individuals may participate in these plans. 

EASE plans do not discriminate against anyone, on any basis. Plan sponsors of EASE plans are required to permit all individuals, irrespective of health status, pre-existing conditions, medical history, race, ethnicity, gender, age, or orientation to join both the partnership and health plan. 

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How many people currently have EASE plans?

More than 50,000, spread all across the US. 

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What do these partnerships do?

Each partnership is different and has its own requirements. Currently, the most common EASE plan sponsors are data partnerships, like Data Marketing, which allow for individuals to share their electronic data from their use of computers and mobile devices in return for a share of any profits made off their data and access to affordable, flexible group health plans.  

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What is the “Own Your Data” movement and what happens to the data collected from limited partners?

These partnerships are part of the “Own Your Data” movement, which has sprung up worldwide as a response to growing distrust of giant technology companies. These giant tech companies collect user data without paying anything to the people who create it, then sell it for billions of dollars.  

In these data partnerships, limited partners agree and consent to install software on their computers and phones that collects their data. These individuals have complete control over their information and its use, and these partnerships guarantee complete transparency. Any profits generated through the sale or use of the data is shared with the partners, who collectively own the partnerships.

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Why was an Advisory Opinion sought?

The US Department of Labor (DOL) oversees ERISA.  In 2018, EASE requested that DOL issue an Advisory Opinion, to provide clarity and long-term security to the thousands of families and individuals who rely on these health plans every day. Despite having positive meetings and discussions, no formal response was ever issued by DOL. A letter from seven state Attorneys General to the Secretary of Labor, which asked for expedited consideration of the issue, even failed to generate a response. Nearly 15 months after the original request, DOL issued a negative Advisory Opinion. During that period, there was no formal interaction with the requester or any questions about regarding the request.

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Why are these plaintiffs suing the Department of Labor?

Unfortunately, bureaucrats within the Department of Labor are trying to preserve the status quo of Obamacare. In doing so, they have put more than 50,000 Americans at risk of losing their affordable health coverage. EASE Alliance supports the partnerships and their efforts to prevent the Department of Labor from taking coverage away from the people who already have it and the possibility of an affordable alternative to Obamacare for the millions who can’t afford a plan in the exchanges.  

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Why are these people trying to join the large group health market instead of the ACA exchanges?

In order to get ACA passed, the Obama administration agreed to leave ERISA plans (and their 160 million members) pretty much alone. By contrast, the newly-created ACA exchange plans were required to provide ten categories – and many dozens of sub-categories – of so-called “Essential Health Benefits” or EHBs. Exchange plans also have other rules that, along with EHBs, make them very expensive for insurers to provide. (The giant carriers who dominate the exchanges actually like it this way, because their profit margins are set by regulators, and therefore the more they spend, the more they make.) ERISA plans, on the other hand, are not subject to most of these rules. That is why the employer-sponsored large group market is relatively stable, while premiums have more than tripled for individual market plans. Anyone – from a large employer to an independent real estate agent – who has to pay for health coverage wants to get it through an ERISA plan, not the exchanges. 

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Are EASE plans paid for by taxpayers?

No.  EASE plan participants pay all of the cost of their own coverage.  By contrast, the federal government pays premiums for Obamacare plan participants through subsidies. 

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What benefits do EASE plans provide?

EASE plans provide a wide range of benefits, and are priced accordingly.  One of the main advantages of ERISA plans over Obamacare is their flexibility – people can choose the type and amount of coverage they need, rather than being forced into “one size fits all” plans.  Currently available EASE plans range from low-cost basic preventative coverage to full major medical, with much lower costs and deductibles than Obamacare. 

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Why are people trying to preserve the status quo of Obamacare?

Unfortunately, there are people, including bureaucrats within the federal government, who like the status quo, even though it leaves more than 20 million Americans unable to find affordable coverage.  In the decade since Obamacare was signed into law, the giant health insurers, who receive the subsidy payments from the federal government, have seen their profits skyrocket. Under Obamacare, state insurance commissioners have great authority to regulate exchange plans but do not have the same authority to regulate plans under ERISA. Finally, some bureaucrats at the Department of Labor don’t want people to have affordable alternatives to Obamacare. 

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Who stands to benefit?

Like most non-profits, EASE Alliance protects the privacy of its donors.  It is important to note, however, that our policy and legal goals will directly benefit the more than 50,000 individuals who already get coverage through EASE plans and the millions more who could join a partnership.  ERISA is a federal law that applies to everyone, and if Data Marketing Partnership wins its lawsuit against the Department of Labor, many other companies will create their own versions of the Data Marketing health plan.  Everyone benefits – except those who preferred the status quo.

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