Part of the Affordable Care Act that was implemented shortly after the bill’s passing was to limit the use of mini-med plans, which are limited health insurance benefit policies. These plans have been frequently used by businesses that hire low-wage, temporary, part-time, and contract workers because the company can still offer health benefits, but at a very low cost.
Mini-med premiums can cost anywhere from $20 – $190 per month for individuals and $100 – $500 for families. Co-payments and deductibles are also kept very affordable, and some mini-meds give first-dollar coverage for certain services. This means there is no out-of-pocket cost prior to your benefits are effective. Mini-med policies cover doctor’s office visits, lab tests, and supply you with a discount card for prescriptions.
Under health reform, the caps that some insurance policies place on the amount of benefits they will cover per year will be phased out. Currently the dollar limits are increasing, and by 2014, they will be completely eliminated. The federal government has issued waivers to exempt mini-med plans from these rules, though they will only apply until 2014.
Since the main staple of the mini-med plan is having an annual dollar limit on benefits, they will most likely die off after 2014. No insurance plan will be allowed to have a limit, so this leaves the whole concept of mini-med in the dust. Major companies like McDonald’s and Waste Management have been using mini-med plans for their employees for many years. The ACA will leave these workers in need of having to pursue individual plans, unless the companies decide to purchase a comprehensive group plan that complies with the essential benefits of health reform.
1. Henderson, National Center For Policy Analysis, ” Mini-Med Plans”. http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/ba727.pdf
2. Claxton and Levitt, Kaiser Family Foundation, “What is a Mini-Med Plan?” http://healthreform.kff.org/notes-on-health-insurance-and-reform/2011/july/what-is-a-mini-med-plan.aspx