For Immediate Release - July 01, 2014

Patrick Administration Announces Over $10 million In Health Insurance Rebates For Small Businesses and Individuals

Consumers, employers enjoy savings from state’s cost containment efforts

BOSTON –The Patrick Administration today announced that citizens and small employers in the Commonwealth will benefit from nearly $10.4 million in rebates from seven of the state’s health insurers according to the state’s Division of Insurance.

"These rebates are all about helping small businesses and consumers reduce their health care costs,” said Governor Patrick. “I am proud of the collaboration between my Administration, the Legislature and health insurers to make health care truly affordable.”

“Our agencies will continue to work collaboratively with the insurance companies to ensure we are keeping healthcare costs down and to ensure Massachusetts remains a leader in cost containment,” said Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs Barbara Anthony. “These rebates are proof that our system of checks and balances is working.”

The exact amounts of the 2013 rebates will be based on the carrier and plan that participants have purchased.  The $10.4 million in rebates was determined by the Division in concert with the insurance carriers, in consideration of the amounts which carriers spent on administrative and other non-health costs.

The rebates reflect a portion of the difference between what the insurance carriers charged in premiums and what they actually spent on healthcare costs in 2013. Under Massachusetts law, health insurers last year must have spent at least 90 percent of the dollars collected from premiums on medical costs. Insurers that spent less than this amount are required to rebate part of the difference back to the individuals and small employer policy holders.

“These rebates are another example of how Massachusetts is working to address concerns about escalating health insurance costs,” said Insurance Commissioner Joseph G. Murphy. “Our health insurers have learned that we expect their continued commitment to every possible cost control measure on behalf of their customers, especially in the individual and small business marketplace.”

Under Massachusetts law, rebates must be calculated within six months of the end of each calendar year.  Individuals who purchase their own insurance and employers in the small group market which purchase insurance for their employees are eligible for rebates, which may be paid directly or credited toward the cost of future premiums.

Not every Massachusetts insurer owed rebates. Those insurers that spent at least 90 percent of their premium dollars on claims payments are not part of the rebate process.  The seven carriers paying rebates for 2013 are CeltiCare HMO, Fallon HMO, MEGA Life, Midwestern National Life, Neighborhood Health Plan, Tufts HMO and United Health Care of New England.  Customers of these carriers who have questions about rebates should contact the company directly.

The Patrick Administration has made health care cost containment a priority, and consumers are seeing the results of those efforts. In August 2012, Governor Patrick signed landmark cost containment legislation into law which sets a first-in-the-nation target for controlling the growth of health care costs. The law results in nearly $200 billion in health care cost savings over the next 15 years, which will lead to up to $10,000 in additional take-home pay, per worker, over 15 years. Additionally, the average family will see an estimated savings of $40,000 on their health care premiums over 15 years.

Most recently, Governor Patrick awarded nearly $2 million in grants to 51 organizations across the state to help train health care providers to improve patient service and reduce costs. Chapter 224 health care cost containment legislation allocated $20 million to prepare the health care industry for the new demands and innovations called for in the legislation.

The Division of Insurance is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Find the Division of Insurance online at www.mass.gov/doi, or on Twitter @MassDOI

The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly. Follow the Office at its blog, on Facebook and on Twitter @Mass_Consumer

###