WASHINGTON, June 21 -- The office of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., issued the following news release:
U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) applauded the announcement today by Health and Human Service (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that more than 141,000 Marylanders will receive an average rebate of $340 through their health insurance companies by August 1, 2012. The rebate is a result of the Affordable Care Act's 80/20 rule, which brings to light the value consumers are getting for their premium dollars.
"Today's announcement that more than 141,000 Marylanders will be refunded an average of $340 from their insurance companies is a direct result of health care reform guaranteeing that premiums go for health care, not to guarantee profits," Senator Mikulski said. "In our law, we told insurance companies that 80 percent of what they collect in premiums must go to care. No more than 20 percent can go towards administrative costs and profits. When insurance companies fail to comply, you get a rebate. While some premium dollars can still be expected to go towards administration and profits, the days of Armani suit executives are over. These rebates are making good on that promise."
The 80/20 rule included in the health care reform law requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of consumers' premium dollars on medical care and quality improvement with the remaining 20 percent on administrative costs.
Insurance companies must provide a notice to consumers informing them of the 80/20 rule, whether their company met the standard and how much will be refunded to them. Nationally, 12.8 million Americans will benefit from $1.1 billion in rebates from their health insurance companies. Marylanders whose health insurance companies do not meet the standard will see an average rebate of $340. Insurance companies that have not met the 80/20 standard, which took effect this year, must provide their policyholders a rebate for the difference no later than August 1, 2012.
Consumers owed a rebate will see their value reflected in one of the following ways:
a rebate check in the mail;
a lump-sum reimbursement to the same account that they used to pay the premium if by credit card or debit card;
a reduction in their future premiums; or
their employer providing one of the above., or applying the rebate in a manner that benefits its employees.
Senator Mikulski has been a vocal advocate for health care reform, signed into law on March 23, 2010, to ensure that Marylanders have more control of their health care choices, and includes a number of important consumer protections. Young adults are now allowed to stay covered under their parents' plan until they are 26. Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage due to a preexisting condition. The law also includes the Mikulski Amendment, which guarantees that women of all ages will receive, at no cost, an annual women's health exam to screen for the leading causes of death among women. It also requires all health plans to cover comprehensive women's preventive care and screenings with no copayments.
TNS RadHar67-120623-JF78-3922326 StaffFurigay