A year has passed since the health care reform bill, the Affordable Care Act, was signed into law. Many used the opportunity to hold events that publicized the perceived “broken” promises of the law, but in Illinois, insurance officials are arguing that consumers are better off now than they were without it. The Illinois Insurance Department Director, Michael McRath, has said that in the next year some consumers will be receiving rebates as a result of the law’s requirements.
“There is some disruption and definitely some discomfort among insurers,” says McRath, “but consumers are clearly better protected than they were a year ago.” McRath submits that the requirements of the law may be hard to meet for small insurers, especially in cases where states do not ask for federal waivers regarding some of the provisions of the law.
The Affordable Care Act specifies that insurance companies must spend at least 80 cents of every dollar they collect from premiums to providing health care. If they fail to do this, they must refund policyholders. These provisions of the law will begin in 2012.
Illinois is among the states that will not be requesting federal waivers to help insurers meet these requirements. McRath has said that if companies can present evidence that the requirements will negatively affect their ability to compete in the insurance market, special considerations may be made. McRath believes that what difficulties come up will make companies operate better in the long run, encouraging them to adapt to the changing insurance landscape.