http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/health/2010-10-07-healthlaw07_ST_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip McDonald's, 29 other firms get health care coverage waivers Updated 50m ago | Comments 615 | Recommend 30 E-mail | Save | Print | By Drew Armstrong, Bloomberg Business News Nearly a million workers won't get a consumer protection in the U.S. health reform law meant to cap insurance costs because the government exempted their employers. Thirty companies and organizations, including McDonald's (MCD) and Jack in the Box (JACK), won't be required to raise the minimum annual benefit included in low-cost health plans, which are often used to cover part-time or low-wage employees. The Department of Health and Human Services, which provided a list of exemptions, said it granted waivers in late September so workers with such plans wouldn't lose coverage from employers who might choose instead to drop health insurance altogether. Without waivers, companies would have had to provide a minimum of $750,000 in coverage next year, increasing to $1.25 million in 2012, $2 million in 2013 and unlimited in 2014 SNIP The biggest single waiver, for 351,000 people, was for the United Federation of Teachers Welfare Fund, a New York union providing coverage for city teachers. The waivers are effective for a year and were granted to insurance plans and companies that showed that employee premiums would rise or that workers would lose coverage without them, Santillo says.