Washington, DC – Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced S. 172, the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act Wednesday to provide a two-year delay of the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) that was created by the Affordable Care Act. The tax is a fee to health insurers on their health policy premiums that increases costs on nearly everyone in the marketplace from seniors to small businesses.
According to America’s Health Insurance Plans, if implemented in 2020, the Health Insurance Tax would levy $16 billion in fees on health insurance. If Congress fails to act, the HIT tax will increase premiums by 2.2% or $196 per person in the individual market, $479 per family in the small-group market, $458 in the large-group market and $157 for Medicaid premiums on average nationwide. Furthermore, according to actuarial analysis conducted by Oliver Wyman, without the HIT moratorium in place for plan year 2019, Medicare Advantage premiums would have increased by roughly 55.7% from $393.05 to $612.09. There are roughly 21 million seniors and individuals with disabilities enrolled in Medicare Advantage that would have been hit especially hard by this tax.
“Without Congressional action, the Health Insurance Tax will impose fees on nearly 142 million American’s health care coverage in 2020,” said Senator Gardner. “According to Oliver Wyman, without a repeal of the Health Insurance Tax Coloradans will pay an estimated $162 more in 2020 when purchasing insurance on the individual marketplace. Senior citizens and the disabled, that rely heavily on Medicare Advantage face significant increases, and small businesses will be forced to pay an additional $448 for each of their employees. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan legislation that will make sure Americans are not forced to needlessly pay even more for their health insurance at a time when health care costs continue to rise.”
“Patients deserve access to affordable, quality care – full stop. Making health care coverage more affordable requires an all hands on deck approach, and suspending the health insurance tax is one component of that effort,” said Senator Shaheen. “This bipartisan bill will improve our health care law and help reduce expensive health insurance premiums, which are impacting Granite State small businesses and residents, and millions more across the country. Congress needs to work together and reach across the aisle to address the problems affecting our health care system, and this bill is an important step forward. I’ll continue to prioritize bipartisan efforts that will decrease premiums, stabilize health insurance markets and provide quality care to every American.”
“American families need relief from the health insurance tax,” said Senator Barrasso. “This needless Obamacare tax drives up premiums and makes it harder for patients to get the care they need. In the coming months, I look forward to supporting efforts to eliminate this harmful tax.”
“Everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care. Unfortunately, the high cost of health insurance continues to strain the pocketbooks of Alabama families and job creators alike,” said Senator Jones. “Lowering those costs is a top priority for me and that’s why I am proud to help introduce this bipartisan bill to suspend the Health Insurance Tax for an additional two years. By pausing this tax for another two years, our legislation will help lower premiums for small businesses, individuals, and seniors receiving coverage through Medicare Advantage.”
“We need to do everything we can to ensure that every American has access to quality and affordable health care,” said Senator Scott. “If the health care insurance tax is not addressed quickly, we could see a dramatic increase in the price of health care in South Carolina and around the country. I am proud to stand with a bipartisan coalition of Senators in protecting both the health and wallets of every day Americans, small business owners, and seniors covered through Medicare Advantage.”
“This tax raises costs for Arizona families and businesses,” said Senator Sinema. “I’m proud to work across party lines to help make healthcare more affordable for Arizonans.”