Will Boehner get rid of premium rebates? Email Print

In August, insurers who overbilled subscribers in 2012 refunded $504 million. The rebates are required by law by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

From the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Aug. 5:

Next round of health insurance rebate checks going out

by Christopher Snowbeck

In two years, St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis has received nearly $25,000 in rebates from its health insurance company.

The rebate checks have been so large that they cover nearly all of the cost of the church's feeding ministries, said Sally Cuningham, a lay leader with the church.

"Our Sunday night supper costs us about $8,000 per year -- just for that one feeding," Cuningham said during a news conference Monday at the state Capitol. "And that's just one of the three ministries."

Cuningham joined U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., at the St. Paul news conference timed to coincide with the mailing of rebate checks, which were scheduled to be sent by Aug. 1.

The federal health care law of 2010 created the rebate rule, which requires certain insurance companies to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on patient care and quality improvement. If too much of the premium dollar goes to other things, insurers must issue consumer rebates.

The full list by state is published here at cms.gov website (pdf page)

The rebates vary by state. Here are some for individual subscribers (not in a group employer plan).

 - In FLA, 300,000 covered individuals get a rebate check averaging $164 per family ($40 million to individual households in Fla.)

 - In CALIFORNIA, 300,000 receive a smaller check, $58 on average per family ($18 million to individuals).

 - In Mitch McConnell's home state of KENTUCKY, 100,000 get a check, $123 per family on average ($11 million to individuals).

 - Fewer refunds in OHIO. Only 2000 individual subscribers, receiving a refund of $224 per family on average.

 - In TEXAS, $40 million in refunds to individuals, averaging $96 for a family for 625,000 subscribers.

Here's the sum across all 50 states: rebate checks issued to 2,700,000 subscribers in individual plans, totaling $192 million. Note - an additional $300 million was rebated to businesses with group plans covering more than 5 million subscribers.

Before the ACA law was enacted, insurers kept the excess overhead; now they need to refund it if they overcharged.  That's progress.


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