KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Rebates For Those Who Bought Their Own Insurance To Average $127 Per Person

Millions of consumers and small businesses will receive an estimated $1.3 billion in rebates from their health plans this summer under a provision of the health care law that requires insurance companies to pay refunds if they don't spend a high enough percentage of premium dollars on health care costs, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Los Angeles Times: Obama Healthcare Reforms Lead To $1.3 Billion In Insurance Rebates
U.S. consumers and businesses will receive an estimated $1.3 billion in rebates from insurance companies this year, according to a new study quantifying a key early benefit of the healthcare law that President Obama signed in 2010 (Levey, 4/26).

The Wall Street Journal: Health Insurers To Pay Rebates
Health insurers are expected to give rebates of more than $1 billion to consumers and employers this year, under a provision of the federal health overhaul that forces them to offer refunds if they don't spend enough of the premium dollars they take in on health care (Mathews, 4/26).

The Associated Press: Report: Rebates From Health Care Law Will Top $1B
More than 3 million health insurance policyholders and thousands of employers will share $1.3 billion in rebates this year, thanks to President Barack Obama's health care law, a nonpartisan research group said Thursday. The rebates should average $127 for the people who get them, and Democrats are hoping they'll send an election-year message that Obama's much-criticized health care overhaul is starting to pay dividends for consumers. Critics of the law call that wishful thinking (Alonso-Zaldivar, 4/26).

The New York Times: Rebates For Some Who Buy Own Health Insurance
Almost a third of people who bought their own health insurance last year will get rebates averaging $127 because of a requirement in the federal health care law, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (Carrns, 4/26).

Market Watch: Health Insurers Could Rebate $1.3 Bln
This summer, your health-insurance costs could go down for a change. A provision in the federal health-reform law stands to return big bucks to customers whose health plans have exceeded the limits of a formula meant to ensure that most premium dollars go to pay for medical care instead of overhead and profit. Under rules set in the Affordable Care Act that Congress passed and President Obama signed in 2010, individuals and employers will begin receiving a total of $1.3 billion in rebates by Aug. 1, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan research group (Gerencher, 4/26).

Kaiser Health News: Checks In The Mail: Millions Expected To Receive Insurance Rebates Totaling $1.3 Billion
The percentage of consumers and businesses in line for rebates varies widely by state. In Texas, for example, 92 percent of consumers who purchased individual policies are expected to get rebates because insurers spent too little of their premium dollars on medical care. But in Vermont, Rhode Island, Iowa and Hawaii, insurers are likely to owe less than 1 percent of consumers who bought policies on the individual market (Appleby, 4/26).

CQ HealthBeat: Kaiser Study Projects $1.4 Billion In Medical Loss Ratio Rebates
Some consumers will be getting a happy surprise when later this year health insurers ship out rebates mandated by new medical payout requirements in the health care law, according to a new study issued on Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation (Norman, 4/26).

National Journal: $1 Billion Refund Coming From Insurers
Health insurers will have to pay more than $1 billion in refunds to customers this summer because they have exceeded overhead and profit limits imposed by the 2010 health reform law, a new report finds. The report, from the Kaiser Family Foundation, examined data submitted to state insurance commissioners and estimates that the rebates will total $1.3 billion for the 49 states it analyzed. (Data were not available from California) (Sanger-Katz and McCarthy, 4/26).

Marketplace: Health Insurers Make Premium Paybacks
Part of the health care reform law says only a certain percentage of what we pay in premiums can go to things like insurance company profits and administrative costs. Everything else has to be spent on actual health care or we get it back. And in the first year of the program, we're getting back more than a billion dollars (Warner, 4/26).

Bloomberg: Health Insurers' Customer Rebates May Reach $1.3 Billion
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH), WellPoint Inc. (WLP) and other health insurers may have to forfeit to consumers $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion in profits from last year because of changes to U.S. law that limit revenue from premiums. Rebates for exceeding the limits, called medical loss ratio, will amount to about 6 percent of the industry’s $21 billion in profits from 2011, said Matthew Borsch, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) analyst. For consumers, that translates into rebates of as much as $517 a person, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (Wayne, 4/26).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.