(BOSTON) – Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) moved Americans a big step closer to more affordable insurance premiums by releasing for comment new notification forms that will let individual consumers know if their insurer did not meet the law’s medical loss ratio standard (MLR). Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the MLR rule requires all insurers to spend at least 80 cents on the dollar (85 cents for large group plans) on health care claims and quality improvement, as opposed to administration, overhead and profit. Any insurer that does not meet this standard must provide rebates to policyholders, starting in August 2012.  The following is a statement from Robert Restuccia, Executive Director of Community Catalyst, a national consumer health advocacy organization.

“For far too long, consumers throughout the country have been grappling with rapidly escalating insurance premiums that have gone unchecked. HHS’s announcement is critical as we move toward greater accountability and transparency for insurance companies. These forms will help consumers know that their premium dollars are being well spent, and this is vital to creating a more efficient, responsive, and affordable health care system for all.

“The ACA also allows HHS to grant adjustments to the MLR rule for states where it determines that application of the MLR standard could destabilize the insurance market. We are pleased that HHS’s careful use of this authority has benefited consumers, who will receive up to $323 million more in rebates this year compared to what would have been received had HHS granted more widespread adjustments to the rule.”


About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to quality affordable health care for all. Community Catalyst works in partnership with national, state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations, providing leadership and support to change the health care system so it serves everyone – especially vulnerable members of society. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Read or comment on our blogs at http://blog.communitycatalyst.org/. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.