One of the more important provisions in the new health care law says that insurance companies have to spend at least 80 or 85 percent of their premiums (depending on the insurance market) on actual medical costs. That percentage is known as the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR). If a company ends up spending less than the MLR have to issue a rebate to consumers.
Recently the Government Accountability Office, the nonpartisan agency that investigates how well government programs are working, interviewed insurance companies and regulators to get a feel for the early effects of the MLR provision:
According to GAO, some insurers are decreasing premiums or leaving their rates unchanged in order to comply with the MLR requirements. Three companies told GAO that premiums will either fall next year or increase by a smaller amount than they would have without the MLR.