There is a lot of buzz right now about Obamacare rebates, given that some 8.5 million rebates are in the works this summer. ABC News shared the details on who is getting payments, how and when. Will you be one of those getting some money back?
Approximately 2.7 million individuals will get paper checks or refunds issued to their debit or credit cards. These people are those who are due Obamacare refunds and have individual insurance plans. The average rebate is around $100, or slightly more, depending on the state.
The other 5.7 million individuals may not personally see a penny. These people have employer-provided insurance, and the Obamacare refunds go to the employer. Those employers can then decide what to do with the money.
Employers receiving Obamacare refunds may issue a cash refund to their employees, they may provide better benefits, or they may reduce future premiums. This component of the Obamacare refunds gets complicated, due to tax issues.
Employers are urged by the Department of Health and Human Services to use those refunds in “ways that are not taxable." Forking the money over to employees would be taxable, which just creates a mess for all involved. Companies can't just toss the money to their own bank accounts, however. The money is supposed to be “used for the benefit of subscribers.”
The Obamacare refund quantities and amounts vary by state and the insurance companies involved. A list of the insurance companies sending rebates by state shows some large dollar amounts, but of course that is split among individuals. ABC News notes that those affected in Massachusetts and Washington state will see some nice amounts of $450 to $500, while other states like Missouri are much lower at $72 each.
The rebates are tied to the “80/20 rule” within the Affordable Care Act. This is aimed at holding insurance companies accountable for how they spend the premiums they collect. Those who receive little to no Obamacare refund are those whose insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of the premium dollars on medical care. Those who come under that 80 percent have to refund the difference.
The first year the Obamacare refunds were sent out was 2012, with 12.8 million refunds issued. It would appear, then, that insurance companies did a better job of meeting that “80/20” rule this past year as there is a marked decrease in the volume of refunds this time.
People continue to be frustrated over the rising costs of health care, and many still dislike the Affordable Care Act in general. More and more benefits of Obamacare are kicking in, though not everybody readily sees how it is helping them. The Obamacare refund provision is a good start, though almost everybody is seeing premium increases and of course that is frustrating.
Changes and tweaks continue to be made to Obamacare. While it's doubtful it will ever be possible to have everybody on board, hopefully as time goes on more will see and experience the benefits within their own situations.