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Health insurance refunds may change public opinion on Affordable Care Act

Posted On Tue, July 31, 2012

Public opinion on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been largely split evenly down partisan lines - but that could change with the arrival of the mandated health insurance refund checks coming to millions of slighted consumers.

A provision of the ACA called the "80/20" rule goes into effect August 1st. The "80/20" rule holds that health insurance companies must spend 80 percent of premiums on medical care. If they spend less than 80 percent, insurers are required to refund the portion of premium dollars that exceeds the limit. As of tomorrow, health insurance companies throughout the country will refund a total of $1.1 billion in premium dollars to 12.8 million consumers.

Since its implementation in 2010, public opinion on the ACA has been split down partisan lines. Earlier today, the Kaiser Family Foundation released its July poll, which gauges public opinion on the act. The findings showed that 44 percent of those surveyed were not in favor of the act, while 38 percent were in favor - numbers that have been roughly steady until this point. However, with the arrival of the refund checks - the first tangible benefit of the ACA that consumers have seen - those numbers may change in the act's favor.

According to CNN news blog The Chart, one consumer has already had a change of heart due to the arrival of a check. Connie Kadansky received a $79 rebate from her Arizona insurance company on Friday, and despite her insurance agent's apparent insistence that the act would raise her insurance rates, she expressed a bewildered happiness.

"It was a surprise," said Kadansky. "My insurance agent tells me that my insurance is going to skyrocket. He hates Obamacare. I read the letter and I said to myself, 'So what's wrong with this? This is good.'"

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