Some workers hoping for health insurance benefit increases won’t get their wish this year after President Barack Obama waived increases for certain companies. So far, this waiver, which provides certain companies with a one-year exemption from a new rule that requires them to raise the maximum health insurance coverage amount offered to employees to at least $750,000 by next year, will affect about 1 million workers.
30 Companies Offered the Waiver
Fast food companies like McDonald’s and Jack in the Box, as well as insurers like Aetna and Cigna were offered the one-year exemption from increasing premiums, which is said to affect 968,765 enrollees. The reason companies were issued the waivers was because they were threatening to drop coverage completely or raise premiums by as much as 200 percent if they were to comply with the coverage increase guidelines.
The government hoped that by giving the companies a year to make internal adjustments, they would keep their employees insured and offer reasonable premiums.
Health Care Reform Changes Just Don’t Seem to Stick
What’s been interesting about health care reform is that since it was signed into law, many companies have either found their own ways–or have been given rights by the government–to bypass the very laws that were created to protect Americans.
In Sept. 2010, when many of the provisions took effect that would require more protections for children, many companies suddenly began eliminating child-only policies to sidestep the law. Now companies are able to avoid raising coverage amounts, something that could make a significant difference for many workers.
Further, some companies like Aetna plan to ask for a waiver every year until 2014 since coverage amount increases to $1.25 million in 2012 and $2 million in 2013 will be required by the government.
Hopefully, when 2014 arrives, all of the reform placed in the law will actually work to the benefit of those in need of insurance. It’s unfortunate to think that all of the hard work that went into passing the law would have been in vain.