Some families to receive insurance rebates this summer

SEATTLE - If you live in Washington, you could be getting cash back from your medical insurance provider this summer.

U.S. Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius reports 3,007 Washington residents will receive $806,497 in rebates from insurance companies, averaging $512 per family.

The rebates come from the Affordable Care Act's Medical Loss Ratio standard, known as the 80/20 rule, which requires insurers to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on patient care and quality improvement. If they spend an excessive amount on profits and red tape the companies owe rebates back for the difference no later than August 1.

If your insurance company owes you a rebate, it should send you a notice detailing how much of your premium was spent on patient care or quality improvement and whether any of the money you paid will be refunded.

Washington residents owed a rebate will see their value reflected in a rebate check in the mail; a lump-sum reimbursement to the same account that they used to pay the premium if by credit card or debit card; a reduction in their premiums; or their employer using rebates to improve their health coverage.

"This new standard is increasing transparency and accountability, promoting better business practices and competition among insurance companies, and ensuring consumers receive value for their premium dollars," Sebelius said in a press release. "Today's announcement shows that more Washington residents are benefiting from the tools created under the Affordable Care Act to keep consumer costs down."

Nationwide, 77.8 million consumers saved $3.4 billion up front on their premiums. Additionally, consumers nationwide will save $500 million in rebates, with 8.5 million enrollees due to receive an average rebate of around $100 per family.