Big business is against it. So is big labor. Ditto for K Street. What do they want? The repeal of Obamacare’s tax on high cost health care plans. A growing number of Republicans and Democrats in Congress are lining up to agree with them.
As fall approaches, we can expect to hear more about how employers are adapting their health plans for 2016 open enrollments. One topic likely to garner a good deal of attention is how the Affordable Care Act’s high-cost plan tax (HCPT), sometimes called the “Cadillac plan” tax, is affecting employer decisions about their health benefits. The tax takes effect in 2018.
Consumers are trying to figure out how they’ll absorb the double-digit increases in health insurance premiums that many insurers have announced for next year. American employers, meanwhile, are worried about what will happen to health costs several years out, in 2018.
Just in time for the next presidential election, health care spending is starting to take off again. Through 2024, health care spending is projected to grow by 5.8% annually, on average, according to CMS. While this isn’t unexpected—health economists across the political spectrum expected health care costs to start growing again (and growth rates are expected to still be lower than the long-run average)—the window for addressing health care costs in a less painful way is closing. Without better cost controls in the private sector, and without immediate reforms to Medicare, the health care sector is set to gobble up a full fifth of the U.S. economy in just 10 years.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker staked out his claim yesterday to the pole position in the race to lead Republican presidential candidates on Obamacare repeal-and-replace issues. Now, let’s put the Walker plan into perspective, and assess what is still missing or needed to resolve further in later iterations.
Earlier this week, Wisconsin governor and 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Scott Walker released his version of an Obamacare “repeal and replace” plan.
There’s also versions out there from Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Governor Bobby Jindal (R-La.) There are yet others on Capitol Hill: the Republican Study Committee plan, the plan advanced by House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), and the so-called “Burr-Hatch-Upton” plan. Republicans are often accused of having no alternative to Obamacare, but they actually have many.
Louisiana Health Cooperative was among the 24 not-for-profit companies nationally to accept loans from the federal government to provide insurance coverage called for in the Affordable Care Act. The Metairie-based business was formed in 2011, secured $56 million in federal loans and sold plans in 2014 and 2015.
New research about implementation of the Affordable Care Act finds that Obama administration regulations are allowing taxpayer subsidized health insurance for some people earning less than the statutory income floor and also for unlawful immigrants.
A new study by Andy S. Grewal, an associate professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, explains that the ACA provides tax credits to U.S. citizens with incomes between 100 and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). However, IRS regulations were written to extend credits to citizens below 100% FPL in some cases.
Also, Section 36B of the ACA grants credits to some non-citizens with low-incomes only if they are themselves lawfully present in the U.S. and cannot obtain Medicaid coverage. IRS regulations, however, contradict the statute and allow subsidies if “the taxpayer or a member of the taxpayer’s family is lawfully present in the United States,” and “the lawfully present taxpayer or family member is not eligible for the Medicaid program.”
The U.S. West Coast port labor contract ratified by dockworkers will require shipping companies and terminal operators to cover the tax on high-cost health plans beginning in 2018 under the Affordable Care Act, widely called the “Cadillac tax.”
Health care benefits were an important part of the negotiations that culminated in an agreement in February and last week’s vote by the cargo handlers in favor a five-year contract that included wage increases, pension upgrades and substantial health care coverage.
Under the contract, the Pacific Maritime Association, a group of port terminal operators and shipping companies, will provide full health care benefits for members of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, their dependents and retirees including full coverage with no premiums, no in-network deductibles or co-pays, $1 prescriptions and 100% coverage of hospital care.
Employer groups and insurers are pushing to keep businesses with 51 to 100 workers exempt from a provision of the federal health law that they say could significantly increase their costs.
For these midsize employers, the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for what health plans must cover—and how they are priced—are set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
Already the law requires insurers to sell individual and “small group” plans to everyone at the same price, regardless of their health. Those rules, which kicked in Jan 1, 2014 for businesses with 50 or fewer workers, also set standards for what health-benefits packages must cover.