According to the latest edition of Consumer Reports, to be released for March, so called “junk health plans”, also known as mini-meds insurance, continue to exist and will remain so until the full degree of the healthcare reform goes into effect.
The March issue said that these plans are “legal but inadequate” and said that these and other forms of misleading product, such as medical discount cards and fixed benefit indemnity plans, are still widely in existence.
The reason that these plans continue to be in operation is that wavers have been granted by the federal government (totaling 1,231, which provide coverage for 3.9 million individuals as of January). These waivers were granted to well known, large companies for their mini-med junk plans which essentially represent everything that the Affordable Care Act was created to extinguish.
That said, as much as these very limited coverage, misleading plans have their waivers today, those documents will expire in 2014 when the Act goes into full effect.
According to the Consumer Reports senior program editor, as well as the “Ask Nancy” blog editor at Consumer Reports, Nancy Metcalf, large employers in industries such as temporary staffing agencies, food service, and retail, love these types of mini-med plans because they “want to be able to tell their employees ‘I have something for you.’ But in reality, these plans are extremely limited in their coverage.”
She explained that the primary problem with this type of insurance is that there are a large number of consumers who aren’t informed as to how to determine the value of a health plan, so they believe that they are obtaining the coverage that they require. However, in the case of an accident or catastrophic illness, these same individuals rapidly find that their coverage is falling far short of their needs.
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