The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported last Tuesday (11/23/10) that the Obama administration has reconsidered rules regarding certain provisions of the healthcare plan passed earlier this year. Of particular interest to contact center associates is the newly proposed modification regarding low premium policies that provide limited payments for medical costs. These so-called "limited medical plans" or "mini-med plans" have become a financially viable way for employers of hourly workers to provide healthcare coverage for their associates. Employers typically pay more than 50% of the premium costs for these plans. However, under the healthcare reform bill passed in March, most of these plans would have been outlawed. In an extreme example, McDonalds estimated that up to 30,000 of its employees might lose coverage if an exemption was not granted.
I suspect that many more contact center associates across the industry will be affected by the recent policy reversal. Interestingly though, the WSJ reported "Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (a democrat from West Virginia) said he was "disappointed" the mini-med plans won the looser requirements, and that "their requests will be subject to close scrutiny."" One would think that Senator Rockefeller would be interested in protecting the benefits of hourly workers in his state.
With over 1.4 million working Americans covered by such plans, the Obama administration's limited medical plan exemption will positively affect many individuals, families and businesses. It is a first, encouraging step toward a more rational approach to healthcare reform!