President Barack Obama’s spokesman has defended the decision to approve waivers for 30 sponsors of “mini-med” plans that allow them to continue to offer the arrangements temporarily.
“The waivers are about ensuring and protecting the coverage that people have until there are better options available to them in 2014,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Oct. 7 during a briefing.
His comments responded to questions about why the Department of Health and Human Services had granted the one-year waivers.
Without such waivers, it would be difficult or impossible for the plans, which typically have low annual dollar limits, to meet a key health care reform requirement. In 2014, all plans are barred from imposing annual limits. Until then under previously issued regulations, the minimum annual limit is $750,000 in 2011, $1.25 million in 2012 and $2 million in 2013.
In all, nearly 1 million people are enrolled in mini-med plans offered by the 30 organizations that have received waivers.
In 2014, many mini-med plan enrollees, who often are low-wage, part-time workers, will be eligible for government-subsidized coverage in state health insurance exchanges.