Feds Handing Out Waivers to Health Insurers

Providers threaten to leave markets, stop offering coverage
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2010 7:46 AM CDT
McDonald's threatened to cut workers' coverage.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

(Newser) – The Obama administration has issued a host of waivers in recent weeks, exempting insurers and companies from new health care rules after they threatened to drop coverage, abandon markets, and refuse to sell various policies. So far, they’ve doled out one-year waivers to about 30 companies to allow them to continue to cap benefits or offer limited benefit “mini-med” plans. The waivers affect roughly a million workers, the New York Times reports.

The waivers presage bigger fights to come; insurers are sure to resist rules concerning how much they can spend on care vs. administrative costs, and several are already complaining about rules requiring them to cover sick children. “The hardest part of health care reform is always going to be the transition,” says one former state health official. “I think this pressure just increases until we get to 2014,” when the full health care law goes into effect.

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