House Republicans want answers on HHS healthcare reform waivers

Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday demanding to know more about companies getting temporary exemptions from the healthcare reform law.

The letter comes after HHS announced that 30 companies won't have to abide by the law's $750,000 floor on annual benefits next year. Some firms, including McDonald's, are also seeking waivers on the medical loss ratio regulations that require insurers to spend a minimum percentage of premiums on medical care.

In their letter, the House members ask: 

• Which companies were granted an annual limits waiver, and how many employees will be affected;

• Whether any companies were denied such a waiver;

• Whether any companies have asked for a medical loss ratio waiver and whether any were granted; 

• How the waivers affect the budget outlook for the healthcare reform law since they affect predicted coverage requirements and penalties for non-compliance.