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Texas Health Plans Urge State Congressional Delegation to Delay the Health Insurance Tax

Wednesday, October 30, 2019  
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October 30, 2019

John Ford, jford@tahp.org

 

 

Texas Health Plans Urge State Congressional Delegation to Delay the Health Insurance Tax

The Texas Association of Health Plans recently delivered the below letter to each member of the Texas Congressional delegation urging them to act swiftly to delay the Health Insurance Tax

TO: Members of the Texas Congressional Delegation

FROM: The Texas Association of Health Plans

Dear Senators and Representatives:

On behalf of commercial and public health plans operating in Texas, we strongly urge you to delay the Health Insurance Tax (HIT), which will directly raise health care costs for millions of hard-working Texans and Americans across the country. As the trade organization representing the Texas health insurance community, we have an interest in protecting our members from the burden the HIT would impose upon Texan insurers and workers alike.

As you are aware, the HIT was initially created by the Affordable Care Act as an $8 billion sales tax on the purchase of health insurance. In 2015, it increased to $11.3 billion and is now projected to add an estimated $16 billion to the costs of coverage for individuals, small businesses, families, and Medicare Advantage seniors.

Although it is messaged as a health insurance fee, the HIT is actually a hidden tax on small businesses. The tax applies to health care coverage purchased in the fully insured market, which is where 88% of small business owners shop. If the HIT is allowed to go into effect, fully insured large employers and their employees will see their premiums increase by $465 in 2020, and smaller employees will experience increases of over $501, according to research by Oliver Wyman. The National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation predicts this could lead to a decline in the Texas GDP by up to $2.5 billion over a decade. The tax delivers a direct blow to middle class families and seniors on Medicare Advantage.

Health care costs are rising dramatically in the United States, and these costs directly translate into higher health insurance premiums for employers and consumers. As insurers consider future rate requests, they are already factoring in the unclear future of the Affordable Care Act and other uncertainties in the health insurance market. Today, half a million Texans are unable to afford health coverage. If the HIT goes into effect as planned, this number would continue to grow, leaving even more people without necessary access to care.

Twice before, a bipartisan effort has achieved a delay of this burdensome tax. We hope this tax can be stopped once again in order to prevent millions of Texans and Americans from experiencing the burden of higher health care costs. Eventually, we hope for a full repeal of the HIT, but an immediate delay is of pressing importance as we draw nearer to 2020.

Thank you for your leadership in seeking this delay. We look forward to working with you to eliminate unnecessary health care costs in our present economy.

Sincerely,

Jamie Dudensing
CEO, Texas Association of Health Plans

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The Texas Association of Health Plans

The Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP) is the statewide trade association representing private health insurers, health maintenance organizations, and other related health care entities operating in Texas. Our members provide health and supplemental benefits to Texans through employer-sponsored coverage, the individual insurance market, and public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. TAHP advocates for public and private health care solutions that improve the affordability, access and accountability of health care for many Texans. As the voice for health plans in Texas, TAHP strives to increase public awareness about our members’ services, health care delivery benefits and contributions to communities across Texas.


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