PROGRESS FLORIDA * FL CHAIN
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 17, 2012 CONTACT: Darden Rice, Progress Florida (727) 560-2479
“I got mine,” say Florida consumers getting rebate checks from Big Insurance
Health Insurance Companies Forced to Pay Back Millions to Florida Consumers
ST. PETERSBURG – Health insurance companies will be reimbursing Florida consumers and businesses $123 million dollars because they spent too much money on administrative costs, advertising and corporate profit instead of direct medical care, according to insurers’ filings with the federal government announced July 16, 2012.
“The Affordable Care Act is putting money in the pockets of Florida families and businesses at a time when they can really use it,” said Laura Goodhue, Executive Director of FL CHAIN. “Thanks to the ACA, consumers are getting more value for their premium dollars and will benefit from greater transparency and accountability.”
Health insurance companies owe a total of $1.1 billion to 12.8 billion consumers and businesses throughout the country. A provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that health insurers must offer refunds if they do not spend enough of consumers’ premium dollars on actual heath care.
This new requirement is based on a figure called the medical-loss ratio, or MLR, which is another way of saying that insurers must pay their fair share back to their consumers and patients and not make egregious profits from the sick and dying. Insurance plans must pay a minimum percentage of premium dollars toward health care expenses and quality improvement activities, limiting the amount spent on administrative and marketing costs and bonuses for company executives. Under the law, large group plans must spend at least 85 percent of their premium dollars on health care and quality improvement activities; for small group plans, the requirement is 80 percent. If a health insurer doesn’t spend enough on actual health care costs, it must give back the difference to its customers.
“This rebate check means money back for my small business so I can reinvest,” says Louisa McQueeney of Palm Beach Groves, who received $1582.69 under the small group market rebate plan. “Individuals as well as businesses get a rebate if they overpaid. This is another consumer protection benefit that Florida businesses have gained under the Affordable Care Act.”
“For too long, America’s health insurance companies have been able to get away with spending consumers’ health care premiums on executive bonuses and perks, instead of our health benefits,” said Mark Ferrulo, Executive Director of Progress Florida. “The ACA is already providing tangible benefits and strengthening our health care system, both here in Florida and across the country for millions of hard working Americans. This is something Florida’s own Insurance Commissioner needs to keep in mind and to make sure that this money flows back to the people rather the pockets of HMO executives and shareholders.”
Rebates for people with individual insurance plans will arrive in the form of rebate checks, while rebates for group plans are refunded to employers, who must pass those savings on to their employees.
Floridians available to speak about Medical Loss Rebate Refunds
Laura Goodhue, Executive Director, Florida CHAIN 561-972-4090
Statewide consumer health advocacy organization. Refund of $911 from Florida Blue. Refund will be applied to amount paid for employee health insurance premiums.
Charlene Westman, Building Blocks Inc. 239-434-9512 Naples
Private practice that provides therapy services to children with special needs. Refund of $540 from Florida Blue
Louisa McQueeny, Palm Beach Groves 561-588-4208 Palm Beach
Manager of a citrus seller in Lantana and Palm Beach. Refund of $1,582 from Florida Blue. Louisa has been featured in several news articles on the ACA and small businesses.
Laura Brennaman MSN RN CEN (239) 634-4411 Naples area
Refund of $500 from Golden Rule insurance company for her small (family) business.
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Florida CHAIN is a statewide advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health of all Floridians by promoting access to quality, affordable health care. CHAIN stands for Community Health Action Information Network. For more info: www.floridachain.org
Progress Florida is a nonprofit organization promoting progressive values through online organizing, media outreach, and networking with Florida’s leading progressive organizations. For more info: www.progressflorida.org
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