The Premium Tax: What You Need to Know

The Premium Tax: What You Need to Know

What is the premium tax and how can this affect you?

health insurance tax

You probably heard that health insurance premiums are going to rise?

So, What’s the story?”

Well, 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.

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

Most health insurance carriers are committed to making health care affordable for all of their members and the communities in which they operate. Unfortunately, the premium tax poses a major challenge to this goal, as health plan carriers 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 the healthcare carriers key priorities for 2013 is addressing the challenges posed by the premium tax. The insurance carriers are 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).

Key Takeaways

  • 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 Insurance carriers are working with key stakeholders to make health care affordable by supporting efforts to repeal or rework the premium tax.
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