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Hoosiers in line for $30M in rebates

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If a key provision of the new health care reform law had been in effect last year, Hoosiers buying individual health insurance would have been refunded $30 million.

Indiana Insurance Commissioner Stephen Robertson worried that amount of revenue loss could chase insurers from the Indiana market, leaving consumers fewer options. So he asked for a waiver that would delay implementation of the new rule. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is considering Indiana’s request.

The estimated refund amounts were calculated for Robertson’s agency this month, based on health insurers' most recent annual filings, to see how close insurers were  to meeting new guidelines that require them to spend at least 80 percent of premium revenue on medical bills.

Only 19 of the 63 companies writing individual health insurance policies in Indiana have been meeting the 80-percent standard. The other 44 companies in the state would have to give rebate checks to their consumers to make up the difference between what they actually spent on medical care and the 80-percent threshold.

Those 44 companies cover 94 percent of the nearly 200,000 Hoosiers covered by individual health insurance.

The state’s behemoth, Indianapolis-based Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is fairly close to the mark, spending 76.6 percent of premiums on medical bills. At that rate, it would have to refund a total of $9.3 million to the nearly 115,000 people it covers under individual policies. Those refunds would amount to about $81.50 per person.

Indianapolis-based Golden Rule Insurance Co. would have to pay back $4.6 million to its customers, an average of $255 per person insured. Golden Rule, a subsidiary of Minnesota-based United Health Group, currently spends about 64 percent of premiums on medical bills.

One company already exceeding the 80-percent rule is American Family Mutual Insurance Co. It spends 83.4 percent of premiums on medical care, and so would pay no rebate.

Even though the medical-loss threshold took effect in January, rebates will not be paid out until next year based on 2011 data. But if the health insurers' spending rates remain steady throughout this year, total rebates would equal nearly 7 percent of the $423 million in annual premiums insurers have been charging. To avoid paying rebates, insurers must reduce their prices or enrich their benefits.

Robertson clearly does not like the new law, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He worries that some insurance carriers will stop competing in Indiana.

“Like the rest of Gov. Daniels’ administration, our agency continues to fully support the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Greg Zoeller on behalf of our state that challenges ACA’s constitutionality, but if it remains the law of the land, I must do everything in my power to protect Hoosiers and the health insurance market from its unintended consequences,” Robertson said in a statement.

He said nearly 10 percent of insurers offering individual policies in Indiana already have decided to leave the state.

So Robertson wants HHS to phase in the 80-percent rule, beginning at 65 percent this year and not rising to 80 percent until 2015. In addition, he wants the 80-percent rule waived for new market entrants until 2015.

Robertson also wants consumer deductible health plans, such as health savings accounts, to be exempt from the 80-percent rule indefinitely.
 

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  • How will guarantee issue effect MLR?
    Does Mr. Robertson, or the insurers for that matter, have any accurate projections on how guarantee issue will effect the MLR's? I'm aware that most companies expect the mandate to increase costs of individual policies, but taking on high-risk clients should increase medical losses incurred. Any idea how that will balance out?
  • MLR
    These individual markets are a small portion of a insurance companies overall block. We have already seen Aetna leave the Indiana individual market. There is fear that we could see another large carrier leave this market. www.indianahealthinsurance.com
  • Serve?
    Don you are only missing the fact that most people believe the garbage that gets printed so why not make idiotic comments for political gain. It usually works. When will people understand that the Republicans (i.e. our state govt) want to serve themselves and big business executives and shareholders and not 'the people'? That is what the Constitution outlines in its most general form.
  • What am I missing?
    If every insurance company needs to meet the threshhold of 80% why would companies stop competing in Indiana? This levels the playing field, and they can compete on service and keep their overhead low.
    Only 77% of the Anthem premium dollar went to pay claims, leaving 23% for overhead and profit. Yikes!

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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