Obama administration touts health law an hour before possible ruling

By Elise Viebeck
Source: The Hill

Federal health officials touted a popular provision of the healthcare law — which would result in $1.1 billion in insurance rebates to consumers — just an hour before the Supreme Court could issue its ruling.

A ruling could happen Thursday at 10 a.m. After that, the next possible decision date is Monday, June 25.

The Obama administration continues to talk up provisions of the law as they are implemented. As a whole, the Affordable Care Act remains unpopular with the public.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday morning that 12.8 million Americans will receive $1.1 billion in rebates from insurers this summer as a result of the law. This will average about $151 per insured family, the agency estimated.

The rebates will stem from the law’s medical loss ratio, which mandates that insurers spend roughly 80 percent of all premiums on healthcare rather than marketing, executive bonuses or other administrative costs.

“The 80/20 rule helps ensure consumers get fair value for their health care dollar,” Sebelius said in a statement.

Materials from HHS said that consumers will likely see a rebate check in the mail, a lump sum reimbursement to the account they use to pay premiums or a reduction in their future payments. Insurers must issue checks by Aug. 1, unless the law is struck down in the next two weeks.


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