What a coincidence these checks come right before election time…..The presence of a rebate should not be viewed as a sign that an insurer is deliberately over-charging its customers,” says Adam Powell, a healthcare economist who consults for insurance companies.

Your check really might be in the mail.

By August 1, health insurance companies have to refund $1.1 billion in premiums to about 12.8 million customers, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

The “80/20 rule” in the ACA mandates that health insurers spend at least 80% of their customers’ premiums on health services, leaving no more than 20% for administrative costs and advertising. That means if an insurance company spends 78% of the money it collects on health benefits for customers, it has to send rebate checks for the additional 2%.

“The 80/20 rule in the Affordable Care Act is intended to ensure that consumers get value for their health care dollars,” a letter accompanying the refund checks says.

Connie Kadansky recently received a $79 rebate check from her Arizona insurance company due to the rule.

“It was a surprise,” says Connie Kadansky, who is self employed. “My insurance agent tells me that my insurance is going to skyrocket.(Of course it will, but not until well after the elections.) He hates Obamacare. I read the letter and I said to myself, ‘So what’s wrong with this? This is good.'”

There’s no way to know ahead of time if you qualify for a rebate, and although checks average $151 per household, there’s a lot of variability. Check size depends on how your insurance company collected and spent premiums over the past year, specifically in your state.

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