Posted 1-10-19, United States Senate (WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to save jobs and prevent health insurance premiums from skyrocketing for America’s small businesses and families. The Jobs and Premium Protection Act (S. 80) eliminates the costly, unfair and job-crushing health insurance tax (HIT).

“As a doctor, lowering health insurance costs for families in Wyoming and across the country has always been one of my top priorities,” said Senator Barrasso. “We need to make health care more affordable so patients can get the care they need. The health insurance tax needlessly drives up the cost of coverage. It is time to repeal this tax once and for all.” 

“Without Congressional action, the Health Insurance Tax will impose fees on nearly 142 million American’s health care coverage,” 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. This same report shows that senior citizens and the disabled, that rely heavily on Medicare Advantage, are expected to see the tax increase their health insurance by $472 and small businesses will be forced to pay an additional $448 for each of their employees. I am proud to join my colleagues in support of this common sense legislation and will continue to look for ways to lower the cost of health care for all Americans.” 

“This tax raises costs for Arizona families and businesses,” said Senator Sinema. “I’m proud to work across party lines to end this harmful tax and make healthcare more affordable for Arizonans.” 

BACKGROUND 

The Jobs and Premium Protection Act repeals Section 9010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as the health insurance tax (HIT).

The health care law mandated a fixed-sum tax on the sale of health insurance written in the fully insured market. The tax’s price tag in 2020 is $14 billion. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the next 10 years, the tax will total more than $100 billion. Experts agree this tax adds hundreds of dollars to family health insurance premiums.

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, but this tax will directly impact their ability to create jobs. This tax falls directly on the fully insured insurance market, where 87 percent of small businesses purchase their coverage.

Oliver Wyman Health conducted an analysis estimating the annual premium increases in 2020 because of this tax. The organization found:

  • $165 increase per person in the individual market
  • $193 increase per person and $523 increase per family in the small group market
  • $196 increase per person and $563 increase per family contract in the large group market
  • $255 increase per Medicare Advantage member (including Special Needs Plans and Employer Group Waiver Plans)
  • $195 increase per Medicaid managed care enrollee

The National Federation of Independent Business found that this tax will force the private sector to eliminate between 152,000 and 286,000 jobs in 2023.

The tax also has a direct impact on working families, with half of the tax paid by those with incomes between $10,000-$50,000.