A new online tool allows consumers find out the average rebate their health insurance companies will pay within their states.
The rebate tool is on the federal government's health care reform website, Healthcare.gov.
Almost 13 million Americans are expected to receive $1.1 billion in rebates from health insurance companies by Aug. 1 because of the so-called "80-20 rule" in the federal health care reform law. Under the law, all insurance companies must spend at least 80 cents of every dollar paid in premiums on patient care or efforts to improve health care quality. If an insurance company doesn't meet the standard, called the medical loss ratio, in any given year, it must pay policyholders the difference, either with a rebate check or a reduction in future premiums.
The tool on Healthcare.gov lets users enter the states where they live and their health insurance company information to see the average rebate their insurers are required to pay.
The figures are only averages, and the rebates can be paid in a variety of ways. Those include:
- A lump-sum reimbursement to a credit card or debit card account used to pay the premium.
- A rebate check sent by mail.
- A reduction in future premiums.
- Payment to an employer that provides health insurance coverage to employees. The employer then can pass on a portion of the rebate directly to employees or apply it in some other way to benefit workers.
A detailed breakdown of total rebates by market and state is also available on Healthcare.gov.