WASHINGTON, D.C.-Over 1,000 health insurance customers in the Northern Marianas will soon receive rebates on their premiums as a result of “Obamacare.” The average rebate in the Marianas will be $782 for each qualifying family, according the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Insurance companies must pay the rebate by Aug. 1. The announcement came as the Supreme Court prepares possibly to overturn the new health care reform law this week.
“Families in the Northern Marianas are going to be very glad to get this rebate on their health insurance premiums,” says Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), who worked tirelessly to make sure the islands were covered by many of the important provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Obamacare, as the Act is now called, requires that insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of customers’ premiums on health care services. No more that 20 percent can be used for administrative overhead.
Beginning this year, insurers who do not spend at least 80 percent on care must rebate some of the premiums.
The $782 average rebate per insured household in the Northern Marianas is the third highest in the nation. Only in Guam and Vermont must insurance companies pay back a higher amount. The national average is $151 for each household.
“This is one more example of the benefits of the Obamacare law,” Sablan said. “Making sure that insurance companies spend the premiums on health care for people who are sick or need to see their doctor, not on marketing expenses, salaries, and other overhead.
“This is why I fought long and hard to get some of the coverage of Obamacare extended to the Northern Marianas-so we would get a $100 million increase in Medicaid funding, consumer protections such as not charging women more for health insurance than men, lower drug costs for Seniors on Medicare, and the rebates from this 80/20 rule.
“This is why I pray that the Supreme Court does not kill Obamacare.”
Nationwide, 12.8 million Americans who buy health insurances will be getting $1.1 billion in rebates in one of four ways:
* a rebate check in the mail;
* a lump sum reimbursement to their account if the premium was paid with a credit or debit care;
* a reduction in future premiums; or
* for employment based insurance their employer providing one of the above, or applying the rebate in a way that benefits its employees.
In the Northern Marianas, the Department of Health and Human Services reports, $291,586 in rebates will be distributed.
Consumers should receive a notice from their insurance company informing them of the 80/20 rule, whether their company met the standard, and, if not, what the rebate will be.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule Thursday whether to strike down the Affordable Care Act and the many benefits it provides to the Northern Mariana Islands. (PR)