The March issue of Consumer Reports found the mini-med plans were supposed to become history after the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 -- but soon after passage the federal government started granting temporary waivers allowing existing mini-meds to continue until 2014, when the healthcare reform law is scheduled to take full effect. At that point, the low-wage workers will be able to obtain comprehensive subsidized healthcare coverage on their own or qualify for Medicaid, Consumer Reports said.
Until then, millions might be out of luck should they become seriously ill under mini-med plans, which are also offered to the unemployed via television and Internet ads.
Judith Goss, 48, of Macomb, Mich., said the Cigna plan she gets through her job at the Talbots retail chain was "some type of insurance that would cover something."
"I was aware that it wasn't a great plan, but I wasn't concerned because I wasn't sick," Goss told Consumer Reports.
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2011 she found her policy's annual limits of $1,000 a year for out-patient treatment and $2,000 for hospitalization would not come close to paying the $30,000 hospital bill she was told to expect. She delayed treatment.
"It was 3 centimeters when they found it and 9 centimeters when they took it out," Goss said.