HHS Announces Deadline For Health Law WaiversThe New York Times: Program Offering Waivers For Health Law Is Ending
The Obama administration said Friday that it was shutting down a program that had provided exemptions from the new health care law for many employers and labor unions offering bare-bones insurance coverage to workers. No more applications will be accepted after Sept. 22, federal health officials said. Steven B. Larsen, director of the federal Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, said employers and labor unions had until that date to seek exemptions or request the extension of waivers already granted. The new health care law generally requires employers to provide at least $750,000 in coverage to each person in their health insurance plans this year. Many restaurants, retailers and small businesses do not meet the standard. Some provide "mini-med" coverage with annual limits that may be as low as $10,000 (Pear, 6/17).
The Wall Street Journal: No New Health-Law Waivers To Be Given
Those entities, and any others that secure a waiver by Sept. 22, will be able to keep their one-year waivers, and apply for extensions through 2013. ... By cutting off applications, the administration will avoid the bursts of attention each time it granted a new batch. Opponents of the law contended that the administration had shown favoritism in granting the waivers, prompting federal health officials to disclose the names of recipients and the application process for granting them (Adamy, 6/18).
Politico: Health And Human Services Deadline To Disarm Mini-Med Waivers?
Under last year's health reform law, insurance plans were required to begin to phase out annual limits on how much they would pay for certain medical services. Most plans cannot have an annual limit lower than $750,000. In September, the limit increases to $1.25 million, and eventually to $2 million in 2012. But HHS has granted waivers to almost any employer who has asked to be exempted from the annual limit requirement. Some 1,400 waivers were granted, and about 100 were turned down. Many of those businesses were allowed to reapply, and the waivers were granted on the second try (DoBias, 6/17).
The Hill: Obama Administration To End Monthly Healthcare Law Waiver Approvals
But many employers are more likely to quit offering coverage than to comply immediately with the new requirements.The administration to date has granted 1,433 waivers, covering 3.2 million people. It granted 62 new waivers in May. Larsen said CMS began granting one-year waivers so that it could gather data on how to approach the policy in 2012 and 2013 (Pecquet and Baker, 6/17). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.