The online federal calculator for certifying healthcare insurance plans lets large self-insured companies offer plans that have no hospital benefits. This does not appear to be accidental or a software glitch. Lots of companies are taking advantage of it. Health insurance with no hospital benefits is mostly useless, yet it appears to be allowable now under Obamacare..
The calculator appears to allow companies enrolling workers for 2015 to offer inexpensive, substandard medical insurance while avoiding the Affordable Care Act’s penalties, consumer advocates say.
At the same time, a kind of catch-22 bars workers at these companies from subsidies to buy more comprehensive coverage on their own through online marketplaces. No federal tax credits for health coverage are available to people with workplace plans approved by the calculator.