NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Health Rules Are Waived More Often

November 12, 2010

As Obama administration officials put into place some of the new rules that go into effect under the federal health care law, they are issuing more waivers to try to prevent some insurers and employers from dropping coverage and also promising to modify other rules because many of the existing policies would not meet new standards, says the New York Times.

Concerned about the potential disruption that would be created by enforcing the new rules, the administration has granted dozens of waivers and also made clear that it would modify other rules affecting these policies (in particular, "mini med" policies).  Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services issued more guidance, saying it would use a different method of calculating spending for these plans so they would be able to meet new regulations dictating how insurers should use the premium dollars they collect.

The administration says it is responding to concerns from employers and others that many workers have no other alternative, says the Times.

  • Among the waivers recently granted were for employers like Darden Restaurants, which operates the Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants, for 34,000 of its workers.
  • Federal officials have granted 111 waivers to employers, insurers and union plans, who are responsible for covering about 1.2 million people.

In addition to granting waivers, the administration also said it would establish a different way of calculating the spending for these plans for the first year that "takes into account the special circumstances of mini med plans."

Source: Reed Abelson, "Health Rules Are Waived More Often," New York Times, November 9, 2010.

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