Health care reform rebate check: Check your mailbox for $150 refund check

Don't Waste Your Money

TAMPA -  

Start checking your mailbox. In the next few weeks you could find a check inside for between $50 and $200. 
 
And no, its not a foreign check scam, or trick to get you to buy something. It's all part of health care reform. 
 
Insurers Required to Refund Overcharges 
 
Under the new health care law, insurers are allowed to keep only 20 percent of premiums for overhead and profit. If they took more than that last year, they must refund the money to their customers. 
 
As a result, many employees who pay into health insurance will receive refund checks this summer. 
 
Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine says insurers will refund $1.1 billion to 12 million Americans. The average refund will be $150. 
 
However... 
 
Now the bad news. If you are on Medicaid or a Senior on Medicare, don't look for a check in the mail.  This applies only to private insurers, so you won't receive anything. 
     
The bigger catch: It may be taxable, depending if you pay for health care with pre-tax dollars.  Some companies take out insurance money before taxes, which means you will be taxed on the refund as income. 
 
If you get a check for $100, then find you have to pay 30 percent income tax on it, you may say "doesn't that stink." 
 
But the bottom line is watch your mailbox between now and mid August, for what could be a pleasant little surprise. 
 
As always, don't waste your money. 
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Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co. 
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