The Obama administration isn’t feeding you a line if they tell you the check is in the mail. This week, many Americans will begin receiving letters informing them that their insurance companies failed to meet the new “80/20″ rule established by the Affordable Care Act — a rule that at least 80 percent of the money received by health insurance companies must go directly to providing health care.
As National Women’s Law Center explains, “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.” With the reform in place, more money must be spend directly on care, rather than pumping up executive pay and paying people to turn down claims.
For those companies who spent less than 80 percent, they are now required to provide a rebate check to make up the ratio, and that money will be divided among its customers.
Time.com reports, “The rebates will average around $127 for the over 3 million individuals who receive them directly. Small employers covering almost 5 million people will receive around $377 million (an average break of $76), while larger employers covering about 7.5 million people will get approximately $541 million (an average of $72). According to administration officials, employers are obligated to pass those savings onto their employees.”
But unless there’s a greater push behind the effort, will this small windfall make the general public any more accepting of the ACA? Like so many of its other provisions, these reforms don’t seem to be making a direct connection with so many Americans who still haven’t bought into the idea of health care reform, mostly because they can’t see how they can really benefit. I spoke with someone yesterday who worried about her retirement because she will have to purchase her own insurance once her COBRA expires but before Medicare is available, and she told me how worried she was that she would be turned down for preexisting conditions if there was any lapse in coverage. As I explained that companies will no longer be allowed to do that because of health care reform, she wondered why no one ever mentioned that.
The more the actual tangible benefits of the Affordable Care Act kicks in, the more the public will be likely to support it. It won’t always take a check in the mail.
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