SPOTLIGHT: Exemptions allow insurers to offer less generous benefits

Insurers in Florida, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee can continue offering less generous benefits than they would otherwise be required to provide this year, reports the New York Times. The Obama administration granted temporary waivers to the four states and to more than 900 health plans covering 2.4 million people. Under the health reform law, insurers this year must generally provide at least $750,000 in coverage for essential benefits like hospital care, doctors' services and prescription drugs. To qualify for a waiver, a state, employer or insurer must show that compliance with the federal requirement would cause a significant increase in premiums or a decrease in access to benefits. Each of the states had a law, policy or program that required or encouraged health plans to offer limited-benefit coverage. Article

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