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.
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.
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