Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce plans to create a statewide Association Health Plan under new rules rolled out by President Donald Trump’s administration.

The state’s chamber of commerce and manufacturers association is in the process of creating a plan that its officials say will provide affordable health care coverage for employers to offer their employees. WMC expects to begin offering a plan to its members in the coming months.

AHPs allow small- and medium-sized businesses to band together to purchase health coverage as part of an association. The U.S. Department of Labor recently approved new rules that loosen the rules for AHPs, including providing exemptions from certain mandated coverage included in the Affordable Care Act.

AHPs offer the possibility of reducing businesses’ health care costs because of those exemptions. However, the deregulation of AHPs has been criticized by some who have said it will make coverage more expenses for those remaining on ACA exchanges.

WMC’s decision to create an AHP comes amid skyrocketing health care costs both nationally and in Wisconsin, WMC said. Employers’ health care costs are particularly concerning amid current labor shortages, WMC said. In its most economic survey, rising health care costs were the second highest public policy concern after labor availability.

Read more from BizTimes Milwaukee.