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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Thursday defended granting waivers to some employers from a key provision of the new health care law, saying it was the best way to keep people insured until the law fully takes effect.
At issue is a new requirement banning annual caps on benefits, which began phasing in last month. Many employers and insurers that offer low-cost, low-benefit insurance plans known as "mini-med" plans would not have been able to comply with the new requirement without raising monthly premiums to virtually unaffordable levels.
So the administration has granted 30 waivers to date exempting companies from the requirement for a year.
Waivers went to companies including Jack in the Box, Cigna and the company that insures some McDonald's workers, and another 114 applications for waivers are under review by the Health and Human Services Department. One waiver request has been denied, but HHS declined to identify which company was involved.
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