Obamacare's medical loss ratio provision saved $5 billion for consumers from 2011 through 2013, either through rebates or reduced plan spending on overhead, new Commonwealth Fund analysis finds.

Researchers Michael McCue of Virginia Commonwealth University and Mark Hall of the Wake Forest University School of Law found that in 2013 insurers paid out $325 million in consumer rebates, less than one-third the amount paid out in 2011. This is an indication, they say, that insurers are stepping up their compliance with the rule.

"The Affordable Care Act's medical loss ratio provision improves the protection health insurance affords people, by setting minimum standards for spending on medical care, while also encouraging insurers to invest in quality initiatives," Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal said in a statement. "These findings show that insurers can improve coverage for consumers while remaining competitive in the health insurance market."

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