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 http://www.hhs.gov/ociio/regulations/approved_applications_for_waiver.html.