A fixed indemnity hospital insurance plan pays pre-set dollar amounts for specific health care services. The benefits you receive for health care service is the same regardless of where you receive your care or how much your provider charges. This makes you a consumer because you will need to shop around to find providers that offer the best prices. Some plans are more robust than others but they are not meant for people who need to see the doctor regularly. In fact, these plans generally do not accept pre-existing conditions.
These plans can also be used to augment your major health insurance. Every policy will have gaps in coverage, even if that gap is just a very high deductible. A hospital indemnity plan might actually fill that gap with additional coverage at an affordable price. Also realize these benefits are typically paid directly to the insured and do not have a coordination of benefits agreement. This means you might be reimbursed for a service your major health insurance plan already paid for.
The minimum essential coverage plan is based on the individual mandate language in the affordable care act. The federal law made it mandatory for everyone to have health insurance but only at a level that covered what they called minimum essential coverage. This coverage is basically annual checkups, specific screenings and counseling for certain individuals. Essentially if you have one of these plans the irs could not penalize you for not having adequate health care. These plans are ridiculously cheap but are really only for people who are fit and healthy. This is a whole new plan developed especially because of the affordable care act and the realization that not everyone can afford a major health insurance policy.