You probably hear it all the time: Employees asking you “I’ve heard that health insurance premiums are going to rise? What’s the story?”
Sound familiar? Chances are one reason could be because of the Health Insurance Tax (HIT), otherwise known as the premium tax, a multi-billion dollar tax on most of the nation’s health plans that will begin in 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
While the premium tax already is spelled out in the ACA legislation, its specifics still are being debated, and how the tax will be calculated and implemented has not yet been determined. Adding to the uncertainty: bipartisan legislation has been introduced to repeal the tax.
Despite the uncertainty, there are several fundamental facts about the tax that are important for you to understand for your business – and so you can answer that inquisitive employee.
What’s the tax?
Beginning in 2014, the ACA mandates that most health plans be taxed on their net premiums. This is estimated to collect more than $100 billion over the next 10 years, with the annual amount increasing from $8 billion in 2014 to $14.3 billion in 2018. The total in subsequent years will depend on the rate of premium growth.
The premium tax applies to the fully insured market, while self-insured plans are exempt. Non-profit health plans will receive a 50-percent reduction to their portion of the tax.
Committed to affordability
Health Net is committed to making health care affordable for all of our members and the communities in which we operate. Unfortunately, the premium tax poses a major challenge to this goal, as Health Net and other health plans will need to raise premiums on consumers, small businesses and seniors to make up for the additional financial obligation. In addition, state Medicaid budgets will face higher costs as a result of this tax. It is estimated that, nationally, the tax could raise premiums by an average of more than 2 percent in 2014 and more than 3 percent by 2023.
One of Health Net’s key priorities for 2013 is addressing the challenges posed by the premium tax. Our Government Relations team is working closely with key stakeholders, advocates, representatives and others to address the impact of the tax and advise on potential solutions.
“We are partnering with a diverse coalition of those who will be impacted by the tax, including small businesses, to focus on repealing or reworking this provision of the ACA before it goes into effect,” said Adrienne Morrell, vice president, Government Relations.
For more information on the Health Insurance Tax and its impact on consumers, watch this short video by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).
- The Health Insurance Tax (HIT) – also known as the premium tax – is scheduled to begin in 2014.
- Nationally, it’s estimated to increase premiums by more than 2 percent.
- Health Net is working with key stakeholders to make health care affordable by supporting efforts to repeal or rework the premium tax.
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