Health insurance companies are offering their corporate customers rebates to offset premium costs and reflect lower medical spending as patients avoid doctors’ offices, routine procedures and elective surgeries during the coronavirus pandemic.



a person sitting at a desk: ACA Health Experts call center expert, Cynthia Hernandez helps Tiffany Wright get health insurance at the Ahmed and Roshan Virani Children's Clinic, Monday,Nov. 14, 2016 in Houston. It’s likely that 2021 health insurance premiums will remain around the same prices as 2020, experts said.


© Karen Warren, Staff Photographer / Houston Chronicle

ACA Health Experts call center expert, Cynthia Hernandez helps Tiffany Wright get health insurance at the Ahmed and Roshan Virani Children’s Clinic, Monday,Nov. 14, 2016 in Houston. It’s likely that 2021 health insurance premiums will remain around the same prices as 2020, experts said.


It’s unclear how big an impact the rebates, in the form of credits, might have on the premiums companies pay and contributions their employees make. Premiums vary from company to company and, depending on the circumstances, the rebates could lower premiums, keep them from rising or at least limit increases.

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Companies, meanwhile, will decide whether to adjust employee contributions to health insurance premiums based on the rebates they might receive.

Fewer claims were filed during the pandemic, meaning insurance companies paid out less, kept more of the premiums they collect and earned higher profits. As a result, insurers are coming under pressure to return some of the windfall to customers, particularly since the Affordable Care Act prohibits insurers from keeping more that more than 20 percent of premiums for administrative costs and profits.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued guidance in August that allows insurers to refund the excess profits this or next year as premium credits, which are discounts that reduce the amount paid monthly.

On Tuesday, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas said it would help customers during the pandemic by issuing $104 million in premium credits to employers that it insures. It also said it would adjust the price of 2021 premiums for individual and group plans, saving buyers

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.



a man and a woman wearing a suit and tie: On The Money: Pelosi, citing 'leverage' over Trump, holds strong to $2.2T in COVID-19 aid | McConnell to force vote on 'targeted' relief bill next week | Trump again asks court to shield tax records


© Greg Nash
On The Money: Pelosi, citing ‘leverage’ over Trump, holds strong to $2.2T in COVID-19 aid | McConnell to force vote on ‘targeted’ relief bill next week | Trump again asks court to shield tax records

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THE BIG DEAL-Pelosi, citing ‘leverage’ over Trump, holds strong to $2.2T in COVID-19 aid: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday shot down entreaties from some Democrats to cut a $1.8 trillion deal with the White House on coronavirus relief, arguing that President Trump’s pleas for Congress to “go big” have given her leverage to hold out for more aid.

“I appreciate the, shall we say, a couple people saying, ‘Take it, take it, take it,'” Pelosi said in a phone conference with Democrats, according to source on the call. “Take it? Take it? Even the president is saying, ‘Go big or go home.'”

  • Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been in near-daily talks in search of an elusive stimulus agreement, even as the prospect of a deal before the Nov. 3 elections has faded.
  • Mnuchin last week had offered a $1.8 trillion package, up from an earlier proposal of $1.6 trillion, prompting a growing number of House Democrats to urge the Speaker to come down from her $2.2 trillion proposal.
  • That figure was already a reduction from the Democrats’ $3.4

NEW JERSEY – An additional $100 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to support New Jersey residents and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to officials.

The bulk of the money, $70 million, will be distributed to restaurants, microbusinesses, and other small businesses through Phase 3 of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program.

“Small businesses and the people they employ are the backbone of New Jersey’s economy, yet they have borne a disproportionate share of the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “If we are to emerge from this pandemic stronger and more resilient than we were before, it is incumbent on us to support them in any way possible. This additional funding helps us accomplish that goal.”

An additional $10 million will be used to help small businesses purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) through the NJEDA Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program; $15 million will go to support renters through the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating economic impact on many vulnerable New Jersey families and keeping a roof over their heads is our top priority,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “The additional support we are providing will extend relief to tenants so they can focus their limited resources on staying safe and secure.”

The remaining $5 million will be used to provide relief for New Jersey residents facing food insecurity. These funds will build off of the $20 million announced in July that the Department of Agriculture (NJDA) used to support Emergency Feeding Organizations, which have been supporting food banks, food pantries, hunger relief centers, and soup kitchens that provide food to those in need.

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some G20 creditor countries are reluctant to broaden and extend another year of coronavirus debt service relief to the world’s poorest countries, so a six-month compromise may emerge this week, World Bank President David Malpass said on Monday.

Malpass, speaking to reporters as the World Bank’s and International Monetary Fund’s virtual annual meetings get under way, said G20 debt working groups have not reached agreement on the two institutions’ push for a year-long extension of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).

“I think there may be compromise language that may be a six-month extension (and) that it can be renewed depending on debt sustainability,” Malpass said.

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the G20 major economies are scheduled to meet by videoconference on Wednesday. In May, they launched an initiative to allow poor countries to suspend payments on official bilateral debt owed to G20 creditor countries until the end of 2020, which Malpass said has freed up $5 billion to bolster coronavirus responses so far.

Malpass and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva have been warning that far more debt relief is needed for poor and middle-income countries, including principal reduction, to avoid a “lost decade” as the pandemic destroys economic activity.

Malpass said the two institutions would propose a joint action plan to reduce the debt stock for poor countries with unsustainable debts.

But he said debtor nations were too “deferential” to creditor countries and needed to more forcefully demand a smaller debt burden. “That dialogue hasn’t been as robust yet as I think is necessary to move this process along.”

A new World Bank debt study published on Monday showed that among countries eligible for the G20 debt relief program, external debt climbed 9.5% in 2019 to $744 billion before the

G20 countries may only approve a six-month debt relief extension amid lagging committment to the pact meant to help poor nations weather the pandemic, World Bank President David Malpass said on Monday.

The G20 group of largest economies is set to meet Wednesday after they pledged in April to suspend debt service from the world’s poorest countries through the end of the year as they faced a sharp economic contraction caused by Covid-19.

However, Malpass said relief has been weaker than expected because “not all of the creditors are participating fully,” with only $5 billion granted under the expected $8 to $11 billion, and China among the countries that holding back.

Even with the pandemic still raging, he said another full year of debt suspension is unlikely.

“I think there will be compromise language (on) maybe a six-month extension that can be renewed depending on debt sustainability,” he told reporters.

The Washington-based development lender on Monday said the debt of the world’s 73 poorest countries grew 9.5 percent last year to a record $744 billion, which shows “an urgent need for creditors and borrowers alike to collaborate to stave off the growing risk of sovereign-debt crises triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

World Bank President David Malpass said both private creditors and major economies needed to step up debt relief efforts for poor countries World Bank President David Malpass said both private creditors and major economies needed to step up debt relief efforts for poor countries Photo: AFP / Brendan Smialowski

The countries’ debt burden owed to government creditors, most of whom are G20 states, reached $178 billion last year, according to the report released as the World Bank begins its annual meetings along with the IMF.

China is the largest of those creditors, seeing its share of the debt owed to all G20 countries rise to 63 percent by the end of last year from 45 percent in 2013.

Malpass decried what