ST LOUIS – Almost 600,000 Missourians can expect rebate checks from their health insurance companies, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
The rebates, totaling more than $60 million for Missouri, stem from the new law’s requirement that insurance companies spend 80 percent of premiums on medical costs, and no more than 20 percent on administrative costs, such as marketing and executive salaries. Companies that don’t meet the the ratio must refund the difference to customers.
As the Post-Dispatch reports:
Webster Groves lawyer James Fox deposited a $520.89 rebate check on Monday from his insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Fox, who is self-employed, called the rebate a secret benefit of health care reform.
“I imagine there will be a bunch of people who change their minds about Obamacare when they get their checks,” Fox said
But not everybody thinks the “80/20” stipulation is a good idea for the industry.
Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans, called the rule an “arbitrary cap” that will keep insurance companies from spending money to prevent fraud, perform background checks on doctors and negotiate lower prices with hospitals as part of their nonmedical services.
“It penalizes health plans for investing in many programs and services which improve the quality and safety of care for patients,” Zirkelbach said.