Thursday, March 17, 2011

More Health Law Waivers

The Obama Administration has quietly issued another 126 waivers to one provision of the Obama health law, putting the total number of waivers now at over one thousand.

The latest waivers were issued Friday by the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a new agency set up by the Health and Human Services Department after the approval of the controversial health reform statute.

Unlike previous lists of the waivers - which were all listed on one web page - the CCIIO has now broken them out into seven different pdf pages, which makes it a bit more difficult to go through.

Some of the newest waivers have again been granted to labor unions, like Local 246 in New York City of the Service Employees International Union, Teamsters Local 20 in Toledo, Ohio, the United Food and Commercial Workers Unions and Employers Health & Welfare Fund in Atlanta, Local 247 of the Plumbers & Steamfitters Union in Alexandria, Louisiana, and many more.

Among the private companies that received waivers, Goodwill Industries of North Georgia, May Trucking Company, Stonebridge Companies of Colorado and Military Deli & Bakery Services, the self-described "largest operator of Deli and Bakery departments in military commissaries."

Other waiver recipients include the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Florida, Sportsman's Warehouse, a multi-state retail store dealing in hunting, fishing and camping gear and Scottish Food Systems, which operates Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Inn restaurants.

These waivers usually deal with limited health benefit plans, often referred to as "mini-med" policies, which companies as large as McDonald's and Waffle House use for some of their employees.

The plans have strict limits on how much can be paid out in coverage, a limitation that won't be legal after 2014 when the Obama health law is fully phased in.

These waivers - for one year - allow these many companies and unions to get around the limits on payment benefits, which in 2011 is no less than $750,000.

One more note - the waivers aren't limited to just companies and unions - for example, several school districts and county governments were added to the list as well.

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