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Some Ohio families getting rebates for health care

Some Ohio families may soon see a check in the mail – the result of a provision in President Barack Obama’s health care law that requires insurance companies to give refunds when the companies spend more than 20 cents of each premium dollar on profits, salaries and other administrative costs.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that Ohioans will receive some $486,681 this year in rebates as a result of what is known as the Medical Loss Ratio standard, which is otherwise known as the 80/20 rule.

The rule requires insurers to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on patient care. If insurers spend less than that amount on care, then the law requires them to pay rebates back for the difference by Aug. 1, 2013.

The rebates, which were issued for the first time last year, will be divvied up among 6,333 Ohio residents and come out to an average of $133 per family.

That’s a slight decrease from last year, when more than 81,000 Ohio families received rebates totaling about $11.3 million.

This year, the rebates will affect some 8.5 million consumers nationally, according to HHS, which will amount to some $500 million in rebates, with average rebate of around $100 per family.

The Obama administration argues that the new law has spurred insurers to lower prices or improve coverage in order to meet the standard.

Ohioans affected will see their rebates in one of three ways: through a rebate check in the mail; through a lump-sum reimbursement to the same account that they used to pay the premium if they paid it by credit or debit card; through a reduction in their premiums or through their employer using rebates to improve health coverage.

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