Mini-Med Waivers Up to 733

January 28, 2011 ( – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that it has granted 733 waivers for 2011 as of Wednesday.

An HHS announcement said the waivers are called for under the Affordable Care Act to give applicants a reprieve from rules restricting the size of annual limits to some group health plans and health insurance issuers (see 222 Mini-Med Health Plan Sponsors Approved for Waivers).

HHS said of all the waivers granted thus far:

  • The number of enrollees in plans with annual limits waivers is 2.1 million, representing only about 1 % of all Americans who have private health insurance today.
  • The vast majority – 712 plans representing 97% of all waivers – were granted to health plans that are employment-related.
  • Employer-based self-insured health plans received most of the waivers – 359.     
  • Most of the other health plans receiving waivers are multi-employer health funds created by a collective bargaining agreement between a union and two or more employers, pursuant to the Taft-Hartley Act.  In total, 182 collectively-bargained plans have received waivers.
  • HRAs are employer-funded group health plans where employees are reimbursed tax-free for qualified medical expenses up to a maximum dollar amount for a coverage period.  In total, HHS has approved 171 applications for waivers for HRAs.
  • Sixteen waivers were granted to health insurers, which can apply for a waiver for multiple mini-med products sold to employers or individuals. 
  • Four waivers have gone to State governments.  States may apply for a waiver of the restricted annual limits on behalf of issuers of state-mandated policies if state law required the policies to be offered by the issuers prior to September 23, 2010. 

A list of the waivers granted thus far is at