Is A Health Insurance Rebate in Your Future?

An estimated nine million Americans could receive rebates from their health insurers in 2012. Will you be one of them?
The Affordable Care Act, passed nearly two years ago in March 2010, protects consumers by requiring health insurance companies to spend between 80-85 percent of their premium dollars on medical care or improvements, instead of on administration, advertising or executive salaries. The purpose of this provision is to protect consumers from insurers who increase prices without good reason or justification.

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.

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