Two recently introduced, Farm Bureau-supported bills would provide farmers and ranchers with relief from the Health Insurance Tax. The Jobs and Premium Protection Act (S. 80) would repeal the HIT, while the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act of 2019 (S. 172) would suspend the tax for 2020 and 2021.
Most farmers, ranchers and other small businesses do not have a large enough pool of employees to self-insure, so they purchase health insurance for themselves, their families and their employees on the fully insured market. The HIT, enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, is levied on health insurance companies that operate in the fully insured marketplace and is directly passed on to individuals and small businesses that purchase their own insurance.
There is moratorium on the collection of the HIT during 2019 but in 2020 the HIT will collectively add an estimated $16 billion to the cost of coverage for individuals, small businesses, families and others. This works out to an average $500 in added health insurance premiums per family.
The Senate bills address one of farmers and ranchers’ major concerns with the tax—its steep cost, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall wrote in letters to Sens. John Barasso (R-Wyo.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), original cosponsors of both bills, and Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), also original cosponsors of the measure that would suspend the HIT through 2021.
Duvall said the organization would work with the senators to secure passage of the bills.