In yesterday’s issue of Staffing Today, ASA reported on a story in the March issue of Consumer Reports that was critical of “mini-med” and other limited benefit plans.
Limited benefit plans serve an important need for millions of individuals, especially hourly employees in the retail, restaurant, and staffing industries who work on a part-time, seasonal, or temporary basis. For those workers, limited benefit plans offer coverage of basic medical expenses at an affordable cost.
These plans typically provide defined dollar amounts of coverage for doctors’ office visits, primary care and specialists, X-rays, lab tests, prescription drugs, outpatient surgery, chiropractic treatments, and preventive care. Limited benefits plans generally have no waiting periods and no pre-existing condition limitations.
All insurance plans, including limited benefit plans, are regulated by all state departments of insurance and by the federal government. By law, limited benefit plans are required to prominently disclose to enrollees that they are not major medical health insurance plans.
The key for staffing firms looking to offer health care coverage to their temporary and contract employees is to find out as much as they can about the products for their workers and, in the case of limited benefit plans, to ensure that employees understand exactly what the plans cover and what they don’t. Specifically, employees need to know that limited benefits plans do not cover major medical or catastrophic health expenses.
As the Consumer Reports story suggests, when looking for health benefits coverage, it is important deal with a reputable, nationally known health insurance carrier that has experience in the staffing industry—such as Aetna, Allstate Workplace Division, BCS Insurance (Blue Cross and Blue Shield), Cigna, or Transamerica.