Washington (News-Press) -- As many as 1.7 million Floridians could get rebates from their health insurance providers this year as a result of the 2010 health care reform law, according to a report issued Thursday.
The report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan health policy research group, estimates that consumers and businesses in the Sunshine State will share an estimated $148.6 million from health insurers who spent more on administrative expenses and profits than allowed under the 2010 law.
Only Texas is expected to pay more collectively in rebates ($186 million), the report said.
Insurers have told the state as many as 1,753,065 Florida policy-holders in the small, large and individual markets could benefit, according to Kaiser. The rebates are expected by August.
The report doesn't name the companies and a spokeswoman for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation cautioned that the data her office received from insurers "is not final, even for purposes of estimating rebates."
The average estimated rebate for Floridians who buy individual insurance from a company that expects to owe a rebate is $153, according to Kaiser.
The average rebate in the small group market is $99 per enrollee. It's $44 in the large group market. Rebates in the group markets are generally provided to employers and could be passed on to their employees.
Authors of the report said it shows the law is providing "tangible benefits" for consumers and employers.
"This study shows that asking insurance companies to put more of their premium dollar towards patient care rather than administration and profits is not only popular but also effective," said Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman.
But the industry group America's Health Insurance Plans said that "coverage disruptions and other unintended consequences" of the new spending requirement will outweigh any benefits to consumers.
Ledyard King and Maureen Groppe, Fort Myers News-Press