Senator Opens Probe of McDonald’s Mini-Med Plans

October 1, 2010 ( - Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) has opened a probe into the limited benefit “mini-med” plans that McDonald's Corp. offers to employees.

Bloomberg reports that Rockefeller asked Scott Beacham, CEO of BCS Financial Corp., whether the company’s health offerings amount to a good deal for many of McDonald’s low-wage and hourly employees. BCS Financial offers limited-benefit plans that cover 30,000 employees of McDonald’s.  

In his letter, Rockefeller asked BCS to provide information on how much of employee premiums actually go toward providing medical care. Bloomberg said he also wants to know what limits the plans put on coverage, information about how extensively McDonald’s employees use the plans, and how the company sells the products to the McDonald’s workers.   

“The products BCS is selling to McDonald’s employees are not likely to protect them against the costs of a major health care episode,” Rockefeller said in his letter, according to Bloomberg. “If this is the case, McDonald’s hourly wage workers are setting aside portions of their paychecks for an insurance product that may not be providing them a good value.”  

It was reported this week that McDonald’s had told the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services it may have to make other health care coverage arrangements for some employees because its current insurer was unable to meet medical loss ratio requirements (see McDonalds Reported Seeking HCR Waivier).  

HHS has promised to be flexible when dealing with waiver requests from health care reform law mandates filed by mini-med or other health plans “with special circumstances” and pointed out the department recently announced a waiver process for the reform law’s mandate on minimum coverage limits when complying with those limits would decrease access or boost premiums (see HHS Promises Flexibility on HCR Waiver Requests).