The regulation unveiled by the Health and Human Services department calls for insurance companies to spend at least 80 cents of the premium dollar on medical care and quality. For employer plans covering more than 50 people, the requirement is 85 cents. Insurers that fall short of the mark will have to issue their customers a rebate.
Part of the new health care law, the rule is meant to give consumers a better deal. Administration officials said it will prevent insurers from wasting valuable premiums on administration, marketing and executive bonuses. "While some level of overhead costs is certainly necessary, we believe they have gotten out of hand," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Some insurers have complained the approach is heavy handed, and doesn't take into account costs of marketing to individuals and small employers. Indeed, some are threatening to pull out of the individual market, and four states have already asked the federal government for an exemption from the rule, fearing it could lead to loss of coverage.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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