A popular middle class tax benefit could become one of the first casualties of the Affordable Care Act’s so-called Cadillac tax, affecting millions of voters.
Flexible spending accounts, which allow people to save their own money tax free for everything from doctor’s co-pays to eyeglasses, may vanish in coming years as companies scramble to avoid the law’s 40 percent levy on pricey health care benefits.
Section 9001 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), set to take effect in 2018, imposes an “Excise Tax on High Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage”, which has come to be known as the “Cadillac Tax” (not due to a corporate sponsorship from GM, however). This is a 40 percent tax on employer-sponsored health benefits that are defined as “excess benefits,” which is defined as anything in excess of $10,200 (employee only) or $27,500 (family) coverage for 2018, with adjustments for subsequent years. The “excess benefits” include not only benefits provided by the employer, but also the portion of premium paid by the employee, as well as any money the employee chooses to set aside out of salary to pay for health expenses via a Flexible Spending Account (FSA).
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.
Health Care: When insurers requested huge rate hikes for their 2016 ObamaCare plans, we were told not to worry because state regulators would force them down. But that’s not happening. Death spiral, anyone?
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.
In response to blistering criticism from a consumer group, California’s Obamacare exchange vowed to fix longstanding enrollment and tax-related errors that have blocked consumers from getting coverage for months and left some with unforeseen bills.
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.
One of the health law’s key protections was to cap how much consumers can be required to pay out of pocket for medical care each year. Now some employers say the administration is unfairly changing the rules that determine how those limits are applied, and they’re worried it will cost them more.
To avoid the Affordable Care Act’s so-called “Cadillac tax” on rich benefit plans, companies are adding surcharges of $100 a month or more to wives and husbands of workers, hoping spouses will seek coverage elsewhere, new employer data shows.