The Affordable Care Act is about to become even more affordable for 6.8 million Americans.
U.S. health insurers will send out about $330 million in rebates to employers and individuals this summer under President Barack Obama's healthcare law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday.
The law, often called Obamacare, requires insurance companies to refund customers when they spend less than 80 percent or 85 percent of healthcare premiums they collect for medical care.
The rebates will go to about 6.8 million people and have a value of about $80 per family. They are to be sent by Aug. 1 either directly to consumers or to the employer providing the health coverage, who is required to pass the savings onto employees, the agency said in a report.
One of Obamacare's less-frequently discussed benefits for all health insurance consumers is the Medical Loss Ratio, which reduces insurance companies' ability to capture windfall profits when claims don't meet the projections used to calculate rates. Now, when insurers balance the books, if the amount they collected in premiums exceeds the ratio, the difference must be refunded to customers.
According to Reuters, this year's total refund is much less than last year, meaning that insurers are getting better at calculating premiums to align with the law. This also bodes well for consumers who may be wondering if, and how much, their premiums may rise next year.
So, to recap, while Speaker Boehner threatens to sue President Obama for delaying a mandate the Republicans opposed in the first place, millions of Americans will receive a concrete benefit from Obamacare that they can hold in their hands, then deposit in the bank to help make ends meet.
Those Americans will then head to the polls this November to choose between Congressional candidates who want to repeal Obamacare, and those who want to continue to improve it.
Keep asking your Congressional candidates where they stand on the Affordable Care Act. Ask your local media to press them to articulate their stance on Obamacare. The Republicans still think this is a winning issue for them, even as a growing number of indicators suggest they're wrong.