Categorized | Technology

Give Employers, Families, Seniors Relief From Pending ACA Tax

Bradley Jackson

Updated 4:22PM

Bradley Jackson

If you have health insurance coverage through work, you may be interested in knowing that your premiums could go up next year by as much as $500. But amid all the debate about health insurance, you likely haven’t heard much about it.

This ballooning of health insurance premiums will affect millions of employees of large and small employers, the self-employed, small businesses, and state governments.

A little background: The Affordable Care Act placed a sales tax on health insurance premiums. In a bipartisan vote by Congress, the tax was deferred for 2017. The idea was to keep the cost of employers’ health coverage down.

But that moratorium runs out Jan. 1, 2018. We are nearing a critical juncture, and many of those affected do not even know this tax is coming. If Congress does not act quickly, many Tennesseans will take a big hit.

Large Tennessee employers and their workers will see premiums for family coverage increase $514 in 2018, according to a recent study from global management consultancy Oliver Wyman. The state’s small businesses and their employees will see family premium increases of $442 because of the health insurance tax, the study says.

Over the next 10 years, the health insurance tax will cost the average Tennessee family approximately $5,000 more in higher premiums. Further, nearly 50 percent of this regressive tax falls on families earning between $10,000 and $50,000 per year. It will affect government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, too.

Other consequences: It will mean a heavier tax burden on fully insured small employers (unlike self-insured public and private employers, who are not required to pay the health insurance tax). It also will increase the load for states and taxpayers to the tax costs for Medicaid Managed Care enrollees.

If Congress wants to stabilize health insurance premiums – and it says it does – it could start with this health insurance tax. Delaying the health insurance tax is one of the simplest ways to lower premiums directly for the largest number of individuals across the country and here in Tennessee.

As the leading organization representing businesses across Tennessee, we encourage our congressional leaders to act with expediency to address this important issue. Delay the health insurance tax to help protect consumers, seniors and employers from paying higher premiums.

Bradley Jackson is president and CEO of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Industry and the Tennessee Manufacturers Association.

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