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More Unintended Consequences

September 30, 2010

Back in June, I wrote about a Politico article, entitled “Health care law could ban low-cost plans,” that highlighted Obamacare's risk to mini-med plans and the potential for more than 1 million people to lose their current insurance. Here’s an excerpt from that post:

There is a niche insurance market, called mini-med plans, which many employees (retail, restaurant workers, etc.) have come to depend on. While these plans do offer limited benefits, they are priced low for low-wage workers who may not be able to afford more comprehensive health care. If caps are eliminated, it could force insurance companies to significantly raise costs or eliminate the plans altogether. That would be detrimental to many of these low-wage workers since insurance exchanges and tax credits will not be available until 2014.

Need specific examples? No problem.

Today, the Wall Street Journal published a story with the headline “McDonald’s May Drop Health Plan.” Talk about getting your attention! According to the WSJ, McDonald’s Corp. has “warned federal regulators that it could drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of the U.S. Health overhaul.” A McDonald’s official says their insurance company will not meet the requirement that businesses exhaust 80% to 85% of its revenue on health care.

The fate of the McDonald’s waiver request remains uncertain. The WSJ reports, “Federal officials say there’s no guarantee they can grant mini-med carriers a waiver” and that Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger (former President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners) does not believe mini-med plans deserve an exemption.

Time will tell, but let’s chalk this up to yet another unintended consequence of Obamacare. Did you know there would be so many?


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