They are bare-bones health plans, and critics say they could leave consumers who become seriously ill on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs. The Affordable Care Act was supposed to do away with them.
"The good news is that these plans will be a thing of the past in 2014," Steve Larsen, then a high-ranking Department of Health and Human Services official, told reporters two years ago.
The law did outlaw so-called "mini-med" plans, which cap annual benefits at, say, $2,000 even though the average hospital stay costs $14,000. But now a new type of bare-bones policy may take their place.
Consumer advocates, employers and insurers say that unless regulators move to block them at the last minute, plans with limited benefits may continue to be offered by some large businesses, especially those with low-paid workers such as restaurant chains and retailers.