Consumer Reports magazine refers to "mini-med" health care plans—which offer limited health care coverage—as examples of "junk" health plans, in its new report Feb. 8. The magazine described the plans, which are offered to some temporary workers and others, as "legal but inadequate."
"Mini-meds appeal to large employers in industries such as retail, food service and temporary staffing agencies who want to be able to tell their employees 'I have something for you.' But in reality, these plans are extremely limited in their coverage," said Nancy Metcalf, senior program editor, Consumer Reports, and the author of the publication's "Ask Nancy" blog on health insurance.
"The problem is that many consumers don't know how to judge the merits of a health plan so they get sucked in. … But if they have a catastrophic illness or accident, they'll quickly realize their coverage is hopelessly inadequate."
A total of 3.9 million people were covered by such plans as of January, according to the magazine.
Fifty health insurance companies have federal waivers to offer mini-med policies until 2014, when health care reform goes into effect.
According to the magazine, those with highest enrollment include Cigna Starbridge with 25,000 enrollees; Aetna SRC with 209,423; BCS Insurance with 115,000 including McDonald's hourly employees; and American Heritage Life Insurance Co. with 69,945.
Filed by Staffing Industry Analysts, a sister company of Workforce Management. To comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.