Texans To Get $186 Million In Health Insurance Rebates

Health insurance companies are getting ready to send out millions of dollars in rebate checks to their customers. Texas consumers and businesses are going to get the biggest chunk of money.

The Affordable Care Act, often called ‘Obamacare,’ requires that insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of their revenue on actual health care.

They can keep only 20 percent for profit and overhead, and in some cases only 15 percent. If they go over that, they have to refund the amount to policyholders.

The new requirement kicks in this year.

And a new analysis reveals that of all 50 states, Texas will get the most in rebates — $186 million dollars.

Greg Thompson is a spokesman for the Health Care Service Corporation, the parent company for Blue Cross Blue Shield in Texas.

“The rebate range will be anywhere from five to possibly a few hundred dollars. And it would be a one-time rebate.”

Bob Vesey is a Blue Cross customer near Fort Worth. He and his wife pay close to $800 a month for their coverage. He said even if he only gets two or three hundred dollars back, it’s the principle of the thing that counts.

“That’s money that none of us would have seen had somebody not taken a baton and did it on our behalf.”

The new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 92 percent of Texans who buy their own policies will get some sort of rebate this year.

And about a third of people who are covered by their companies will qualify for rebates, though in some situations the check will go to the company as opposed to the workers.

Still, consumer advocates say it’s a powerful regulation.

Stacey Pogue is with the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin.

“I think when checks start being mailed from insurance companies to consumers instead of the other way around, this summer, that lots of Texans will be very pleasantly surprised that they’re getting money back from their insurers because of the Affordable Care Act.”

If the Supreme Court does not strike down the Affordable Care Act, rebates will continue to be sent out once a year, as needed.

From the KUHF Health and Science Desk, I’m Carrie Feibel.

 

Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...