If insurers fail to meet this standard – one that many insurers already achieve now – they will be required to issue rebates to their customers. The federal Health and Human Services Department estimates these rebates could average $165 per individual.
The customers most likely to receive rebates are those who are not part of a large plan through their employer, but instead purchase their insurance on the individual market. This will include many rural small business owners and self-employed workers, such as farmers, ranchers and rural mainstreet entrepreneurs.
Insurers will be required to publish the costs of their medical claims costs, administrative costs and taxes by June 1, 2012. Those who qualify for a rebate will receive checks this summer.
Of course, insurance companies can avoid paying rebates by lowering premiums. Either way, consumers win.