To millions of Americans: Your check is in the mail.
12.8 million US citizens are expected to receive rebates averaging $151 from their health insurers this year, the Obama Administration announced Thursday. That's due to a provision in the 2010 Affordable Care Act requiring insurance companies to spend at least 80% of the premiums they receive on actual health care, with a maximum of 20% going to administrative costs and profits.
"If the health care law had not been here, you wouldn't get a check," said MSNBC host Ed Schultz on Thursday's edition of The Ed Show.
If the insurers do not hit the 80% mark, they are mandated to send their clients a rebate to make up the difference. Employers who provide health insurance benefits to their workers must pass the rebate savings along to them.
Although 12.8 million Americans are expected to receive rebates, only an estimated three million will receive checks in the mail. NPR reports:
[N]early two-thirds of the 12.8 million benefitting are only entitled to pro-rated rebates, because they are covered by employers who pay most of their premiums. Workers typically pay about 20 percent of the premium for single coverage, 30 percent for a family plan. Employers pay the rest.
What's more, employers can plow all the rebate money, including the workers' share, back into improving the company's health plan. For example, they could shave premiums by a few dollars in each pay period.
If the Supreme Court overturns the individual mandate next week, it is unclear how that would effect the payout of rebates.