One week after the Attorney General’s office filed suit against MEGA Life, more examples of the failures of low cost/minimal benefit plans are emerging. Christopher Rowland’s article in today’s Globe details hardships inflicted on subscribers of those plans. High deductibles and copayments, benefit restrictions, and low coverage caps lead to huge medical bills for individuals they “insure.” Worse yet, the failure by MEGA Life agents and its sister plan, Mid-West National Life to disclose plans’ coverage limitations means subscribers don’t know the costs facing them until it’s too late.
Concerns about skinny health plans are being raised during a timely phase of health reform implementation. The Connector Board is now deciding what types of products it will offer to individuals and employees of small businesses. They are also deciding what will qualify as insurance for the individual mandate. The decisions facing the Board require delicate balancing – while it is important for the Board to offer individuals and small businesses affordable coverage, the plans must also provide meaningful coverage. The stories about MEGA Life show that skinny coverage turns out to be far from affordable as well.