4,850,555 Say THANKS to Al Franken and the ACA

If you have followed the rants of Republicans from President Donald Trump to Representatives Jason Lewis (R-MN-02), Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) and Tom Emmer (R-MN-06), you know the problem — “Obamacare’s skyrocketing premiums“.

Hopefully, you have now seen the report

MNsure Premiums Set to Level Out in 2018

Minnesotans that purchase health insurance on the individual market got welcome news yesterday: Proposed rates for 2018 feature relatively modest premium increases—with many insurers even proposing decreases.

Rates released on the state Commerce Department’s website on Monday show changes to plan prices rising as much as 11.4 percent to dropping by up to 40.8 percent. But those rates depend on the federal government approving a new, $543 million state reinsurance program and vary based on a person’s geographic rating area, age, smoking status and specific plan.

These rates mean that for the individual insurance market, they may have a choice of insurance plans to consider — all knowing that the plans must be based on the same “essential health benefits“.

All good news.

But there is also good news for 4,850,555 consumers that you may have not heard about.

Funny thing is that the guy, who should be tweeting about it, has not.

Yeah, can you imagine a politician not wanting to promote that rebate checks tallying $396,684,376 will be coming to policyholders ?

Yet, if you check Senator Franken’s twitter feed or Senate website, there is no mention of those payments … instead there is this

While the Republicans call for repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Senator Franken wants to improve it.

$396,684,376 is a lot of money … and it all would belong to insurance companies if it wasn’t for Senator Al Franken and an idea that he promoted in his Fairness in Health Insurance Act of 2009.
It was not uncommon for some private insurers to keep 30 % or even more of the premiums for their own administrative costs and profits. By placing limits on the administrative costs, policyholders would be paying for true medical care, thus the Franken provision, called the Medical Loss Ratio, was included in the ACA … simply stated it requires a certain percentage of every premium dollar to be spent on actual health care, not wasteful administrative costs, marketing campaigns, CEO salaries, or profits.
Don’t meet the minimum percentages … then a refund is to be issued to the policyholder — individual or business.

This program has been going on for four years … and the insurance companies subject to Medical Loss Ratio have now reported data for 2015 …

Looking at the data, Minnesotans seem to have insurance carriers holding to the guidelines, while if you are a policyholder in Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, or Virginia, you should be sending a “Thank You” card to Senator Franken.

Yet, in over 70 votes, Republicans have tried to repeal ObamaCare … and what would happen to the Medical Loss Ratio ?
Remember the problem — “Obamacare’s skyrocketing premiums“.

Well, first thing, ya gotta ask : will insurance companies not having to send rebate checks to policyholders, be more inclined to raise their premiums ?
Clearly this would be a good deal for insurance companies … but it is possible that Congress could maintain the MLR in a reform bill.
And that should be a concern, because the first House proposal allowed for the MLR funds to be reallocated back to the states — not necessarily to the state where the overcharging occurred … and definitely not to the policyholder.
Think about that … you (or your company) paid an excessive amount for health insurance, then the Trump Administration decides to send the rebate to South Dakota, etc.
The Senate “reform” addresses MLR in Sec. 205 of Title II of the Better Care Reconciliation Act simply provides for the states to decide. (Wanna bet the insurance companies want the Senate version?)

Just one more thing to watch out for … in the Republican effort to “reform” healthcare.

Tags: , ,