Nearly 2 Million Californians Could Benefit From Health Insurance Rebates

by on June 22, 2012 · 3 comments

in California, Economy

by Janet Lavelle / U-T San Diego / June 21, 2012

Nearly 12.8 million Americans, including 1.9 million Californians, are expected to benefit from rebates on their health insurance this summer as part of the federal Affordable Care Act, officials announced Thursday.

Starting this year, the federal health care law requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premium costs on medical care and improvement or refund the difference to consumers by Aug. 1 of each year.

In California, the average refund is expected to be $65, compared to $151 on average nationwide.  Average rebates on small group insurance policies are $206, large group insurance rebates average $43 and individual policy rebates average $30 in California, according to federal officials.

Consumers may receive a refund through a rebate check or credit card reimbursement, or as a reduction in future premiums. For people who get insurance through their job, the refund would go to the employer who could apply it to benefit employees.

“The 80/20 rule helps ensure consumers get fair value for their health care dollar,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in making the announcement.

The federal regulation, called the medical loss ratio standard, requires 80 percent of premiums on individual and small group policies to go for medical care or quality improvements and 85 percent in large group policies.

While the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the fate of the federal health care law next week and if it strikes down the entire law the rebate could go with it. That would probably not affect Californians, though, because California enacted an identical law in 2011.

State insurance Commissioner Dave Jones noted that the medical loss ratio is one of several elements of the Affordable Care Act that have been made into state law.

“In fact the night of my swearing in (in January 2011) I signed my first regulation implementing the provisions of the Affordable Care Act,” Jones said in an interview earlier this week. “The medical loss ratio law requires health insurers to put a larger percentage of the premiums they collect on paying doctors, nurses, hospitals and other providers for the medical care we get.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth Miller June 22, 2012 at 11:03 am

The big question is how much will we be paying in other taxes to help pay for this. It sounds great but if we’re paying more in other taxes it will hurt. If the rich are paying more they will make cuts with their business. There’s no way to cheat the system.


richardzgreen June 24, 2012 at 12:40 am

Let us take an example of Texas. The “Penny Health” is quite popular in Arizona. It provides so many offers for the low income people.


kafantaris June 24, 2012 at 9:54 pm

So you don’t like the individual mandate in the health care law.
What would you replace it with?
Why do you think Newt Gingrich back in Hillary’s days was for it — after they had looked at everything else?
There was no way around it.
“The insurance mandate is socialism, plain and simple.”
If it’s socialism, you’d have to buy it from the government, which would also tell you what doctor or hospital to go to. But you can buy health insurance from anybody, and you can get treated by the doctor and hospital you want. What’s socialist about that?
“Can’t you see, the government is making us buy insurance. We have no choice in the matter.”
Do you have a choice not to get hurt, or not to get sick? Why then do you want a choice not to have insurance to pay for it when you do?
States in fact already have an individual mandate for car insurance, and they have been putting uninsured drivers in jail for years.
“That’s different. Driving is a privilege.”
Then free health care must be a right in your book. Maybe this idea came from hospitals continuing to treat the uninsured the last half century.
The tradeoff to us living in a civilized society is that we have to follow rules we don’t agree with. In return, we get great many things, including goods and services that otherwise would be unavailable. But, we still have to pay for them. The mandate makes sure that we do.
What’s wrong with that?


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