The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has introduced an online tool to determine if your health insurer owes you a rebate come Aug. 1, 2012, based on that company's compliance with mandated medical loss ratio (MLR) standards under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

The MLR standard for health care insurance companies in the small group market is 80 percent, and in the large group market it is 85 percent. In other words, that percentage represents the portion of premiums collected that should be spent on health care rather than on administrative expenses. Insurers failing to reach their market's MLR will owe a proportional rebate to their policyholders come Aug. 1.

The tool is simple enough to use (see photo). Just choose your state from a drop-down menu and then enter the insurer's company name. Be sure to check the radio button "MLR," and when you submit the form by hitting the "Search" button, the results will come back showing both the MLR for the company and the amount of the rebate, if any (which may not go to you directly but to your company if you belong to an employer-provided policy).