July 27--The Aug. 1 deadline is coming up for employers and their workers to receive rebate notices from health insurers, if the insurers spent more than 20 percent of their premium dollars on administration, profit and overhead.
Nationwide, insurance companies owe $1.1 billion in rebates to 12.8 million Americans, a result of the health care overhaul that took effect last year and was upheld by the Supreme Court last month.
Florida consumers and employers will see a total of $124 million in rebates, according to July data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Of that, $51 million in rebates are expected to be paid out by insurers of small employers and $26 million from insurers of large employers. The average rebates are $190 for those in small-group plans and $94 for large-group participants.
That doesn't necessarily mean workers will be getting a check. Rebates due an employer-sponsored health plan will be paid directly to the employer.
Employers have the option of using the rebate toward future benefits or against future premiums, said Carrie McLean, a consumer health specialist for eHealthInsurance. Still, McLean recommends employees who haven't been notified about a rebate to ask their employer by Aug. 1.
For consumers whose health plan is not employer-sponsored, the expected payout is larger: total rebates of $47 million with an average rebate of $240 in Florida, according to Health and Human Services.
Golden Rule Insurance Co. owes the largest rebate amount in the individual market, $21.87 million, according to the federal government.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida owes the largest amount, $27 million, in the small-group market. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co. owes $23 million in rebates to small businesses and their employees.
McLean said individuals who receive rebates from their insurers may be happy to get the cash, but the rebate also indicates the company paid fewer claims than it anticipated or you paid too much for your coverage.
If no rebate is available, your health plan met the medical loss ratio goals set by health care overhaul that tool effect last year.
Going forward, insurers are likely to pay more attention to their spending, McLean said.
"I'm sure the insurance companies are going to take a hard look at the rebates they have to send out, so they don't have to do these rebates next year," she said.
You can also check online to find out whether your insurer owes rebates at a website operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: .
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