Happy health rebate month!

Don't toss that envelope. It might contain a fat rebate check from your health insurance company.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 8, 2012 3:56PM

This post comes from Jay MacDonald at partner site Bankrate.com.


Bankrate.com on MSN MoneyIt almost looked like junk mail. If I hadn't already been writing for months about a stealthy little health care reform perk known as the medical loss ratio rebate, I might have disposed of it unopened.


Image: Mailbox (© Corbis)Instead, I ripped into it. Yes! A check for $803, no strings attached, courtesy of my now-former health insurance company.


I was one of approximately 12.8 million Americans who can expect to receive a whopping $1.1 billion in rebates from insurers who spent more on things like administrative costs and executive bonuses than the Affordable Care Act allows.


The medical loss ratio provision of the law, which kicked in last year, requires insurers who spend less than 80% of your premium dollars (85% for employer plans) directly on your health care to refund the difference to you every Aug. 1. (Post continues below video.)

Self-employed workers who purchase their own policies are most likely to receive a rebate. When rebates are sent to employers, some may choose to put them toward future premium costs rather than return them to their employees. The size and number of rebates are expected to drop as more insurers toe the line.


For many, the MLR sounded more like a professional accreditation or major league sport -- until the checks started arriving. While the accompanying consumer explanation did little to ignite Olympic fever about the MLR itself, 800 bucks out of the blue is certainly something to cheer about.


Well, sorta. The realization quickly follows that my big windfall was, after all, money the company required me to pay them so some senior executive could keep his winter home in Barbuda stocked with Glenfiddich. Which is why I fired them in favor of a competitor whose executives at least drink Bud Light. But I digress.

If you would like to spoil the will-I-get-one surprise (and avoid inadvertently tossing away your rebate with the fliers), simply log onto Healthcare.gov, enter your insurance company or state, and you'll find a list of insurers in your state, their MLR ratios and the average rebate, if any, that they owe their customers.


Rebates aside, the real beauty of the medical loss ratio is that it makes it easier to tell if your health insurance company is ripping you off.


I wish it had been around a year ago, before I loaned my former insurer $800.


More from Bankrate.com and MSN Money:


Aug 9, 2012 9:39AM
We received a rebate from my wifes health insurance company, less than one months premium. Along with the rebate we received notice they were raising our monthly premiums another $58.00. They'll get the rebate plus, back in a year. That was really helpful for us........NOT.
Aug 9, 2012 9:45AM

How on earth does an article about insurance refunds get comments about being lonely and posting HOT pics?   geeezzzzzzz. After reading this article I expected to see in the comments that people were telling about their individual refunds not spammers telling about website to fine "the one"  eeekkkkkkk


Aug 9, 2012 11:31AM
Life is so  boring all I do is post spam. FIX IT MSN. FIGHT SPAM
Aug 9, 2012 9:58AM

To all you insurance bashing morons… the premiums are high because the cost of care it high. Cost of care goes up 7% to 10% every year so the insurance to cover this care goes up.  There are dozens of non-profit insurance companies and their premiums are just as expensive.  Government is not the answer, it’s the problem. All the regulations and mandates to cover expenses that are not truly medically necessary. Imagine how expensive your car insurance would be if they were required to cover every shopping cart dent with no deductible, if they had to pay for tire rotations, break inspections, oil changes… The rates would double if not more.  Grow up people. Get a clue. Stop drinking the media and government cool-aid .

Aug 8, 2012 11:13PM
Good thing the rich are rich.  This kind of thievery committed by poor people gets prosecuted.
Aug 8, 2012 8:51PM

scammed again 241


In Arizona the checks from Blue Cross have begun to go out, my daughter received her rebate last week

Aug 8, 2012 8:49PM

Mike cho.


  Nope. If you are covered by group insurance and your company receives a rebate, your company can give the rebate to the employees or keep it and put it towards future premiums.

Aug 8, 2012 8:36PM
Well in North Carolina there will be no rebates to anyone from BC&BS because as a company the say they spent more than 80% on direct medical care. Personally they spent less than 10% of my premiums on direct medical services but for some reason the individual doesn't matter- Unless that individual is an insurance lobbyist. I have heard that other states rebates are determined individually and not by what the company did over all. So again the "haves" pay for the "havenots"
Aug 8, 2012 5:23PM
My company's insurer met the percentage required, so there's no rebate.  I think that's more likely with very large employers who hire mostly college graduates: the premiums tend to be very low.  My total monthly premium (retired) for near-Cadillac coverage is $560/month per person (x3 for family) of which I pay 25% ($140).  It becomes my Medicare Supplemental at about the same price when I reach 65.
Aug 9, 2012 3:27PM
I dont expect to get a rebate for many insurance companies will find a loop hole to jump threw. Our health insurer raised our insurance twice over a period of 4 months. The first raise was ten dollars and four months later they raised it again  forty dollars which was unsual so I expect they were covering their butt somehow. You can bet that some will find a way around the rebate and even if they do and get caught they wont be prosecuted for big companies do whatever they want.
Aug 9, 2012 2:41PM
Guess my international conglomerate employer needs the money more than I do.I guess I should be happy I have insurance. Then again I should be happy I have a job!
Aug 9, 2012 4:10PM
Big deal!!!!!! Wife got $5 back from blue cross. Guess we're now in the 1% and will have to figure out how to create some jobs...
Aug 9, 2012 4:42PM
The biggest raquet there is.....Insurance
Aug 8, 2012 6:44PM

Nope, I have recieved absolutely ZERO communication from my woefully inadequate



It's funny. I was at my DR's office yesterday and she asked if my health Insurance

had changed. I replied: "No, Unfortunately." She smiled as if accepting  and

acknowleding my frustration.


Sadly, both my employer and my health Insurer are keeping their funds under wraps.


I wonder what to expect? Apparently Zero at this point, but I'm sure they'll raise

my rates again after this takes hold. I still wonder why?? My rates increased

after this was passed but not in effect?


Thanks obamma, ya screwed me again

GEORGE BUSH didn't have the brains of a flea, when GOD was giving  out brains, GEORGE thought  he said trains and  said I'LL GET THE NEXT ONE,which of course he  never did. with GEORGE NOTHING from nothing will always be nothing   duhhhhhhhhhh keep drinking GEORGEmaybe one day u will increase ur  brain power, if that's possible
Aug 8, 2012 9:47PM
Bush was the worst president in american history. Where is he anyway? Ashamed to show his face, the rotten losy Bastar#. He knows what he did, the arrogant a$$hole.
Aug 8, 2012 9:39PM
so much for the republican lies. Its going to cost more, fact it will save millions, death panels, fact is better health care. republicans lie  so much that they cant keep them  straight. Tired Old angry white men, your days are numbered. You are dying off at a rapid rate. thousands and thousands will not even make the election!
Aug 8, 2012 9:41PM
so much for the republican lies. Its going to cost more, fact it will save millions, death panels, fact is better health care. republicans lie  so much that they cant keep them  straight. Tired Old angry white men, your days are numbered. You are dying off at a rapid rate. thousands and thousands will not even make the election!
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