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Maryland Families to Receive an Average of $143 in Insurance Rebates
Health care law is saving Marylanders money and bringing transparency to the market
WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today applauded Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ announcement that 149,961 Maryland residents will benefit from $13,046,316 in rebates from insurance companies this summer, averaging $143 per family, thanks to the health care reform law.
“Implementation of the health care reform law is giving consumers the fair deal they deserve for the premiums they pay each month,” said Congressman Sarbanes, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over health care policy. “Instead of sinking revenue from the premiums they collect into slick advertising, executive pay, and a healthy bottom line, insurance companies are now required to invest a reasonable amount of premiums into providing better health services and expanding access to care. This is what the American people deserve.”
Created under the health care reform law, the Medical Loss Ratio standard (also known as the “80/20 rule”) requires insurers to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on patient care and quality improvement. If they spend an excessive amount on profits and red tape, they owe rebates back for the difference no later than August 1, 2013.
The law has motivated many plans to lower prices or improve their coverage to meet the standard. Other Marylanders will see their value reflected through rebates later this summer.
Marylanders owed a rebate will see their value reflected in one of the following:
• 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 premiums
• their employer using rebates to improve their health coverage
Insurance companies that do not meet the standard will send consumers a notice informing them of the rule. The notice will also let consumers know how much the insurer did or did not spend on patient care or quality improvement, and how much of that difference will be returned as a rebate.
The 80/20 rule works, along with the required review of proposed double-digit premium increases, to stabilize and moderate premium rates. And, with new market reforms, including the guaranteed availability protections and prohibition of the use of factors such as health status, medical history, gender and industry of employment to set premiums rates, this policy helps ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health insurance.
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