September Will Mark The End Of HHS Mini-Med Waiver Program
The Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that it will stop accepting applications for waivers from the health law's minimum coverage requirements.
The 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 (Pear, 6/17).
Bloomberg: No More Health Waivers Like McDonald's Received, U.S. Says
A program that allows McDonald's Corp. (MCD), the world's largest restaurant chain, and the insurer Cigna Corp. (CI) to avoid providing the minimum health coverage mandated by last year's overhaul will stop accepting applicants in September, the government said today. Companies that already have exemptions from the mandate will be able to continue their "mini-med" health plans with annual maximum coverage of $10,000. The health-care overhaul signed last year by President Barack Obama raised the minimum coverage level to $750,000 for those who weren't granted the waivers (Armstrong, 6/17).
Atlanta Journal Constitution: Health Waivers Change
The Obama Administration has unveiled dozens of new waivers to one provision of the Obama health law, but at the same, the feds have also finally detailed those waiver applications which were denied. There were only 62 waivers included in the latest batch from the Obama Administration, raising the overall total to 1,433 - which allow companies to avoid the limit this year of $750,000 on the minimum coverage benefits in a health plan (Dupree, 6/20).
CQ HealthBeat: It's A September Swan Song For The HHS Mini-Med Waivers
Goodbye, waivers. The Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that come September it's closing down its controversial mini-med waiver application process. Organizations, companies or labor unions that now have waivers from the annual limits in the health care law can hang on to them until 2014 as long as they ask for extensions by this fall and meet requirements for transparency, said Steve Larsen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (Norman, 6/17).
National Journal: Mini-Meds Get Two More Years But They Have To Act Fast
The federal government is giving low-value health insurance plans two more years to meet some of the health care reform law's rules. But they must apply by September 22 to qualify, the Health and Human Services Department announced on Friday. The Obama administration has taken heat from Republicans for granting waivers to insurance plans known as "mini-meds," which contain fewer benefits than the average insurance plan and are generally offered to workers in high-turnover jobs, such as those at fast-food restaurants. With a waiver, mini-med plans don't have to meet the 2010 health law's requirement that plans offer $750,000 worth of benefits this year (McCarthy, 6/17).
Politico: Health And Human Services Deadline To Disarm Mini-Med Waivers?
Employers and insurers who offer bare-bones health coverage have until Sept. 22 to either request or reapply for a reprieve from stricter federal insurance requirements - a move that effectively defangs a repeated criticism from Republicans just as the 2012 election season begins in earnest. The Department of Health and Human Services has been accepting and approving the so-called mini-med waivers on a rolling basis, creating a predictable news cycle where Republicans criticize the Obama administration each time a new batch of waivers is announced. CMS on Friday set the final deadline and said it would allow qualified insurers and employers to continue to offer the plans through 2013. In 2014, annual limits on health coverage are banned as insurers start to compete for business in online insurance exchanges (Dobias, 6/17).
Modern Healthcare: CMS To Stop Accepting Annual-Limit Waiver Applications
In new guidance issued Friday, the CMS said it will not accept new applications for waivers from the health reform law's annual limit restrictions or requests for extensions on currently granted waivers after Sept. 22. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act prohibits health plans from imposing annual limits on health insurance coverage beginning in 2014. Until that time, annual limits are being phased out to maintain access to coverage, generally for so-called "mini-med" plans (Zigmond, 6/17).