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More than one million Texans to cash in on health care rebates

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TWC News: More than one million Texans to cash in on health care rebates
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More than one million Texans can expect a rebate check in the mail later this summer from their health insurance company.

Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius announced Texans will benefit from $167 million in rebates as part of the Affordable Care Act’s 80-20 rule.

Blake Hutson with the Consumers Union, which is part of Consumers Reports, is among several groups that fought for Texas insurance companies to be subject to the Affordable Care Act's 80-20 rule.

The rule requires companies to spend 80 percent of your healthcare premium dollars on actual health care, leaving no more than 20 percent for administrative costs like marketing and salaries.

“This is big news for consumers and a really exciting day for families who struggle with health care costs,” Hutson said.

The average rebate is $187, but some families may receive as much as $350. Hutson believes the provision will change opinions about the so-called “Obamacare.”

“So when you get something that’s simple, like health insurance, companies waste your money and they got to give it back,” Hutson said. “I think that there’s a change in the public’s perception of the law when they find out there’s some real tangible benefits like that.”

Rebates, either by check or reduced premiums, should arrive to those qualified by Aug. 1.

Stacey Pogue with the Center for Public Policy Priorities says aside from the rebates, the long term benefit is lower premiums.

“One of the things that is going to be the most important about the 80-20 rule is really that pressure it puts to keep rates down, but nobody sees that,” she said. “That’s why this rule in Texas is even more meaningful because we don’t, at the state level, have that oversight going on.”

The Affordable Care Act as a whole hinges on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, which is slated for next week.

In the meantime, everyone can expect a notice to inform you about the provision, regardless if your insurance carrier met the 80-20 mark or not.

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