National and local healthcare experts gathered in Omaha today for the National Healthcare and Insurance Reform Summit that focused on the costs and regulations of the Affordable Care Act. Scott Stevens is a consultant and insurance broker in Nebraska and says the ACA is complicated and ever changing.
Stevens says there have been over 20 new fees and taxes that have been created to fund the Affordable Care Act. A number of them impact group and individual insurance plans. He says the one that hits the hardest is the Health Insurance Tax or HIT. Unlike other taxes that have sunset provisions built in, HIT has no sunset. There was a moratorium placed into effect for 2016 but unless Congress acts it will resume again in January of 2017.
Stevens says this will have a huge impact on Nebraska. He says, “Clearly for employers it is a burdensome tax because it is a reflection of the premium of the plan. If it resumes in 2017 it could consume as much as 4% of the premium alone. If you are talking about a $1-million plan you are talking about a $40,000 tax.”
HIT is a $100-billion tax and i will increase premiums and make it harder for Nebraskans to purchase health insurance. It will impact low and middle class workers, seniors, businesses as well as Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
It will also hurt Main Street as it will increase costs for small businesses making it harder for them to create jobs and hire new employees. Experts say that the HIT will increase taxes for small business owners by $530 a year for each person they employ.
It will also impact Nebraskan families and individuals directly. A study shows that HIT will cost families about $5,000 over ten years and about half of the premium increases will be paid by those making between $10,000 and $50,000.