About 590,000 Missourians and 67,000 Kansans are slated to get money back from their health insurance companies this month.
The federal healthcare law now requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on health care and quality improvement. The rest can go to administrative costs, marketing and profits. Insurers that don't meet that standard have to refund the difference to consumers.
Ryan Barker, Director of the Missouri Foundation for Health, says even people who are covered through their employer can expect to benefit.
“Let's say your employer pays 60 percent of your health insurance premium, and the worker is responsible for 40 percent, those rebate checks are split exactly in that same percentage,” says Barker. “So the insurance companies will send 60 percent of the rebate to the employer, and 40 percent of it to the worker.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that Missouri residents will get almost $61 million dollars back from companies this year. About $4 million will be going to Kansas residents.
Deborah Wiethop, public relations director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri, says her company has already started to mail out rebate checks.
“We are saying that we are paying less than 10 percent of the amount we collected in premiums last year. So it's a relatively small amount,” says Wiethop.
According to HHS, Anthem will pay almost $34 million to Missouri residents this year, under the company names Healthy Alliance and HMO Missouri. United Healthcare, also known as the Golden Rule Insurance Company, will pay just over $16.5 million. Another $5.5 million come from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.
Rebates are due by August 1 and could be reflected in one of the the following ways, according to HHS:
- A rebate check in the mail
- A lump-sum reimbursement to the same account that is used to pay the premium (if paid by credit card or debit card)
- A reduction in future premiums
- An employer providing one of the above, or applying the rebate in a manner that benefits employees
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