It’s Women’s Health Week. Time to Celebrate! Along with all of the other goodies we’ve been talking about endlessly for the last two years, the health care law is giving us another reason to celebrate: cold hard cash.
That’s right, cash money. Or more like a check. Let me explain.
The health care law signed by President Obama in 2010 to overhaul our health care system included a provision to require insurance companies to spend more of our premiums on our care, not on administrative costs or profits. It is called the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) and it is a federal requirement that insurance companies must spend 80-85% of premiums on health care. When I talk about this with women across the country, one of the first things they say is something along the lines of, “It’s about time!” (That that seems a pretty normal requirement and one that should have been in place a long time ago.) Before the health care law, many insurance companies spent excessive amounts of our premium dollars on administrative costs and profits, including executive salaries, overhead, and marketing—and not on our health care.
Aside from requiring insurance companies to spend our premium dollars on our care, there is another fantastic benefit of this provision: rebates. Insurance companies that have not met the medical loss ratio standard are required to provide rebates (money) to consumers. And rebates are rolling out! This is how it will work. Enrollees owed a rebate will see a reduction in their premiums, receive a rebate check, or, if the enrollee paid by credit card or debit card, a lump-sum reimbursement to the same account that the enrollee used to pay the premium. In some cases, the rebate may go to the employer that paid the premium on the enrollee’s behalf.