McDonald's is threatening to drop employee health insurance because of new federal health care regulations requiring it to spend at least $4 out of every $5 its plan receives on health benefits. Mickey D's says that the requirement, meant to force companies to spend money on actual worker benefits rather than exec pay or marketing, is unrealistic because of the high administrative costs of its large number of "mini-plans," and has asked regulators for a waiver, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Under the "mini-med" plans McDonald's offers its workers, a worker can pay $14 per week for a plan that caps benefits at $2,000 or $32 per week for a plan with a $10,000 cap. The company warns that if it can't get a waiver on the new requirements, there will be "a huge disruption" for the 30,000 workers it covers, who won't be able to get the new health law's subsidies for low-income people to buy insurance until 2014. Trade groups say similar issues can be expected at many other large employers unless the government loosens requirements.