Don’t Overpay: Understanding Dual Coverage and Refund Options Under ACA Health Insurance

Navigating health insurance can be confusing, and it’s easy to find yourself in a situation where you have dual coverage. In California, for example, a resident recently discovered that they had both Kaiser through Covered California (ACA) and Medi-Cal (Medicaid) coverage. This situation raises questions about the possibility of getting a refund for the months of dual coverage.

Understanding Dual Coverage

Dual coverage occurs when you have two or more health insurance policies that cover the same medical expenses. In most cases, it’s not advisable to maintain dual coverage as you could be paying for duplicate services. If you find out that you have dual coverage, it’s essential to cancel one of the policies promptly.

Refund Options

In general, insurance companies do not issue refunds for periods of dual coverage. This is because insurance premiums are based on the risk of covering your medical expenses. Since you were covered under both policies, you were not at financial risk.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. In some cases, insurance companies may consider issuing a refund if:

You were not aware of the dual coverage at the time of enrollment.
The dual coverage was a result of an error on the part of the insurance company.
You cancel the dual coverage within a short period of time, such as the first 30 days.

Retroactive Termination

One potential option is to request a retroactive termination of the Covered California plan. This means that the plan would be canceled as if it never existed. However, this is usually only done in cases of nonpayment.

Medical Loss Ratio (MLR)

Some individuals may have heard of the 80/20 rule in Obamacare, which states that insurance companies must spend at least 80% of premiums on medical care. However, this rule does not apply to individual accounts and does not guarantee a refund.

Seeking Professional Assistance

If you believe you are eligible for a refund, it’s essential to contact your insurance company directly to inquire. They will be able to provide you with more specific information about your options. Additionally, consider seeking assistance from a licensed health insurance agent who can guide you through the process.


Understanding dual coverage and refund options under ACA health insurance can help you avoid unnecessary expenses and maximize your benefits. Remember that refunds for dual coverage are not always possible, but it’s worth exploring your options. Contact your insurance company or a licensed agent for personalized guidance and to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

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