Le, a 35-year-old self-employed information technology consultant in Chicago, didn’t know about the new rules until he got the check from UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Golden Rule Insurance Company. “I was pretty surprised,” Le said. At first, he was afraid the company was canceling his plan, which costs about $160 a month. Once he realized what it was, getting a check like that was “powerful,” he said. “I wouldn’t have gotten a penny if it wasn’t for the law.”
The authors of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law aim to pressure health insurance companies to cut down on administrative costs and other expenses and to prevent them from raising premiums to maximize profits. The idea is to eliminate waste by health plans so they charge lower premiums in the future, said Blake Hutson, a health care advocate with Consumers Union in Austin, Texas.