NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Health Waivers

December 9, 2010

The Obama administration has quietly granted even more waivers to one provision of the new federal health reform law, says Jamie Dupree.

These waivers deal with limited health benefit plans, sometimes referred to as "mini-med" policies.

  • The plans have limits on how much can be paid out in coverage, limits which would be phased out under the new health reform law.
  • The feds have granted waivers from that law, amid concern that certain groups would drop their health insurance programs entirely.
  • Those waivers are good for one year and can be considered for renewal.

The number of waivers has doubled in just the last three weeks to a new total of 222.

  • One of the more recognizable business names included on the newly-expanded list of waivers issued by the feds is that of Waffle House, which received a waiver on November 23 for health coverage that covers 3,947 enrollees.
  • Another familiar name was that of Universal Orlando, which was given a waiver for plans that cover 668 workers.

The information on the waivers, which is buried deep on the website of the U.S. Health & Human Services Department, shows that since it was last updated in mid-November, the number of waivers issued has gone from 111 to 222, covering organizations as diverse as the "Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Ogdensburg" to the "Pearson Candy Company."

And there are more unions who have received waivers in this latest batch, like the Bricklayers Local 1 of MD, VA and DC, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, the Indiana Teamsters Health Benefits Fund, and Service Employees International Union Local 1 Cleveland Welfare Fund, says Dupree.

Source: Jamie Dupree, "More Health Waivers," Washington Insider, December 7, 2010.

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