This summer millions of Americans could find a check in the mail from an unexpected source: their health-insurance company.
Consumers and businesses will receive about $1.3 billion by this August from insurance plans that failed to meet a new standard in the 2010 health-care law, according to estimates released Thursday by the independent Kaiser Family Foundation. (That’s assuming the law, or at least the portion of it containing the rule, is upheld by the Supreme Court, which is expected to issue its decision in late June.)
Starting in 2011, The Affordable Care Act (I’m calling it that, and not Obamacare) required health insurance companies to spend at least 80 to 85 percent of health insurance premium dollars on actual medical care, and not on administrative costs, like salaries. This was known as the medical loss ratio, and if insurance companies didn’t do that, they had to start giving their customers rebates for the difference by Aug. 1, 2012. Of course, none of us will see any of this money if the Supreme Court decides to kill certain parts of the health care law because they deem them unconstitutional. In addition, variations in state rules will make it so that 92 percent of individual-plan holders in Texas will be getting rebates, while barely 1 percent of residents in states like Vermont, Rhode Island, and Iowa will see a rebate. Health care! Still complicated! Also, a lot of people don’t have health insurance, so this won’t matter to them anyway.