You may be one of the millions of Americans who, as part of the Affordable Care Act, should be receiving a rebate from your health insurance provider, usually distributed to your employer. But what if you’re also one of the millions of Americans whose employer is no longer in business?
This is the problem currently faced by Consumerist reader Todd, who recently received a letter from Anthem BCBS that, because the insurer didn’t spend at least 80% of customers’ premiums on medical care, he would be getting the rebate.
“That’s great,” Todd writes to Consumerist. “The letter says that the rebate will be sent to my employer who can then apply it to future premiums or provide a cash rebate. Also great. Only problem is that the employer that I had this particular insurance with laid off all of its employees and is in bankruptcy. As far as I know the only person still attached to the company is the owner in Japan, so I am kind of stuck.”
Todd says he contacted Anthem to explain my situation but didn’t exactly find a sympathetic ear.
“The representative said that their responsibility ends with sending me a letter, sending a check to the address on file for my employer and they are not required to do any more than that,” he writes. “They suggested I contact the Better Business Bureau or a ‘legal expert.’ I don’t know what the BBB would be able to do with a company that doesn’t exist anymore, and I really don’t want to pay a lawyer for what will probably end up being a $50 rebate.”
Figuring Todd couldn’t be the only one stuck in this sort of situation, we reached out to the Dept. of Labor to see what someone should do if they are entitled to a rebate but can’t get it because their former employer has vanished into history.
A rep for the agency explains:
Employees who suspect they are not benefiting from a rebate provided to their company, or who have questions about the rebate program, can contact the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration at www.askebsa.dol.gov or 1-866-444-3272. A Benefit Advisor may refer a complaint to enforcement staff for investigation and possible further action. In those cases, we will work with all parties involved to reach a resolution that works for businesses and ensures consumers get the benefits they deserve.
Meanwhile, the folks at Labor tell Consumerist they will put Todd in touch with a Benefits Advisor who can assist him with his issue, meaning he hopefully won’t need to go get a “legal expert” or complain to the BBB about a business that is no longer in business.