White House touts health law's insurance rebates to consumers

The Obama administration is talking up its healthcare overhaul for prompting new rebates from insurance companies to policyholders — the latest in a series of attempts to highlight popular provisions of the law, which remains divisive as the November election draws closer.

"Consumers across the country are starting to hear the good news about their health insurance costs," Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy-Ann DeParle wrote in a post Tuesday on the White House's blog.

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"Last week, insurers were required to report the refunds that will go to consumers and small businesses later this summer, and we have already started to see the effects," she wrote.

The law's medical loss ratio mandates that insurers spend roughly 80 percent of all premiums on healthcare rather than on marketing, executive bonuses or other administrative costs. 

It will yield about $1.3 billion in rebates for nearly 16 million Americans, according to estimates by the Kaiser Family Foundation in May.

"If your insurer doesn’t meet or exceed this standard, they must rebate you the difference," DeParle wrote. 

She cited cases in Tennessee, Arizona and California where policyholders will receive funds back, and linked to one article stating that two Golden State insurers will pay more than $50 million in rebates.

Reports have suggested that Obama campaign officials see the rebates as a "stealth weapon" for improving opinion of the law as the Supreme Court's ruling on its constitutionality — and November's election — looms.

Insurers must issue checks by Aug. 1.

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