A coalition of blue chip employers is out there promoting the idea that a little medical insurance is better than none.
The HR Policy Association, Washington, a group that represents human resources executives at more than 250 giant U.S. employers, has set up a National Health Access program to help 1.2 million part-time workers and other workers associated with member companies who now lack major medical coverage.
The workers are now getting brochures advertising an employee-paid “discount card” program for $6.99 per month; 2 types of major medical coverage; and, in the middle, 3 different levels of mini medical insurance plans.
The typical mini medical plan is a limited-benefit health insurance plan that comes with an annual benefits maximum of $1,000 to $100,000. Mini med plans already cover about 750,000 U.S. residents, but most of the issuers have been small.
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The Uniprise unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn., will be insuring the NHA mini med policies, and Hewitt Associates Inc., Lincolnshire, Ill., will be administering the policies.
Other companies starting or expanding mini med programs include units of WellPoint Inc., Indianapolis; Aetna Inc., Hartford; and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio.
Fringe Benefit Group Inc., Austin, Texas, is running the Nationwide program. “We’ve had a huge reception from brokers who were wary of limited medical in the past,” says Brian Robertson of Fringe Benefit. “The agents out there have really taken note of the fact that carriers like Nationwide are getting into the limited-medical business.”