The Norman Transcript

June 20, 2013

Oklahoma families receive an average of $92 in insurance rebates

Transcript Staff
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Health care law is saving Oklahomans money and bringing transparency to the market

Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Thursday that 273,694 Oklahoma residents will benefit from $16,014,997 in rebates from insurance companies this summer, averaging $92 per family, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.  

Nationwide, 77.8 million consumers saved $3.4 billion up front on their premiums as insurance companies operated more efficiently.  Additionally, consumers nationwide will save $500 million in rebates, with 8.5 million enrollees due to receive an average rebate of around $100 per family. 

Created under the Affordable Care Act, 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.   

“This new standard is increasing transparency and accountability, promoting better business practices and competition among insurance companies, and ensuring consumers receive value for their premium dollars,” said Secretary Sebelius.  “Today’s announcement shows that more Oklahomans are benefiting from the tools created under the Affordable Care Act to keep consumer costs down.”

The law has motivated many plans to lower prices or improve their coverage to meet the standard. Other Oklahomans will see their value reflected through rebates later this summer. 

Oklahomans owed a rebate will see their value reflected through a rebate check in the mail, a lump-sum reimbursement to the account used to pay the premium if by credit card or debit card, a reduction in premiums or by their employers using rebates to improve 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.