UPDATED on Friday, July 6, 2012, to add a correction from Anthem's Deborah Wiethop.
Some 588,000 Missourians will get money back from their health insurance companies this month.
The federal healthcare law requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on health care and quality improvement. The rest can go to administrative costs, marketing and profits.
Insurers that don’t meet that standard have to refund the difference to consumers.
The director of health policy for the Missouri Foundation for Health, Ryan Barker, says even people who are covered through their employer can expect to benefit.
“Let’s say your employer pays 60 percent of your health insurance premium, and the worker is responsible for 40 percent, those rebate checks are split exactly in that same percentage,” Barker said. “So the insurance companies will send 60 percent of the rebate to the employer, and 40 percent of it to the worker.”
Deborah Wiethop is the public relations director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri. She says her company has already started to mail out rebate checks.
“We are saying that we are paying less than 2 percent* of the amount we collected in premiums last year,” Wiethop said. So it’s a relatively small amount.”
According to estimates by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Anthem will pay just over $33.7 million to Missouri residents this year, under the company names Healthy Alliance and HMO Missouri.
In all, Missouri residents can expect to get almost $60.7 million back from insurance companies this year. Most of the money will go to small businesses and to people who bought insurance through the individual market.
Those rebates are due by August 1.
*CORRECTION: In the excerpt of her recorded interview which we aired, Anthem's Deborah Weithop said her company was refunding less than 10 percent of the amount it collected in premiums last year back to consumers. She later e-mailed St. Louis Public Radio to say she misspoke and that the correct figure is 2 percent.