MEDICAL LOSS RATIO (MLR) REBATES

👉Who does this apply to?

Fully-insured health plans only. This does not apply to self-funded health plans or policies for “excepted benefits” such as stand-alone dental or vision coverage.

👉Summary of MLR rebates

The ACA requires health insurers to spend a minimum percentage of their premium dollars, or MLR, on medical care and health care quality improvement.

This percentage is:

-85 percent for issuers in the large group market; and

-80 percent for issuers in the small and individual group markets.

Issuers that do not meet these requirements must pay rebates to the policyholder by Sept 30 of each year, and are based upon aggregated market data in each state, not upon a particular group health plan’s experience.

👉How should employers handle MLR rebates?

Determine which plan or policy is covered by the rebate they received. (The issuer should include policy information as part of the rebate.)

👉Decide how much of the rebate must be paid to plan participants, and how much the employer may keep

-If the plan documents do not specify otherwise, the portion of the rebate that will be considered “plan assets” is the same percent of the total premium that was paid by participants and must be paid to or for the benefit of plan participants.

e.g. If ER contributes 55% of total premiums, EE contributes 45%, then 45% of the MLR rebate is plan assets

👉Must or should the rebate be allocated to both prior year and current year participants?

In most cases, an employer probably can decide to allocate the rebate among only current employee participants, rather than having to track down former employees and send them checks.

👉Decide how the rebate be paid or used

Rebates for plan participants can either be paid to or for the benefit of participants or can be used to pay for benefit enhancements adopted by the plan sponsor.

Common examples:

-Pay the rebate to current employees by including the amount in their paychecks and withholding taxes

-Reduce employees next month’s premiums by the rebate amount

👉When must the rebate be paid?

The “plan asset” portion must be paid within 3 months of the date the employer receives the check from the insurer, or the employer must establish a trust to hold plan assets. 

If you have questions about the above, or need help with another employee benefits administration question, please contact us! We would love to hear from you!

The Compliance Rundown is not a law firm and cannot dispense legal advice. Anything in this post or on this website is not and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact your legal counsel.

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