Unless Congress acts now to suspend the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance tax, the country’s 29 million small businesses, their employees and the self-insured will face a steep increase in their health insurance costs, the Stop the HIT Coalition warned in a letter to leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee.
With the HIT is set to return in 2018 after being suspended for 2017, in just a few weeks, small businesses will face a surcharge on the cost of insurance in the fully-insured employer group market, and families will have to come up with an estimated $500 more to cover the HIT.
Also of concern is that those who can least afford it—small business owners and workers earning between $10,000 and $50,000 per year—will bear a disproportionate share of the cost when the HIT returns, said the coalition, of which the American Farm Bureau Federation and 20 other groups are members.
“There should be no doubt about the urgent need to suspend the tax for 2018 and 2019. This is a common-sense approach to address the range of affordability and cost concerns facing millions of hardworking Americans,” the groups wrote in their letter.
The coalition asked for quick action on one of a handful of bills that would repeal or delay the HIT—the Jobs and Premium Protection Act (H.R. 246), The Healthcare Tax Relief Act (S. 1859) and the Small Business and Family Health Tax Relief Act of 2017 (S. 1978). Another option that would provide relief is a provision in a year-end legislative package to suspend the HIT for all fully-insured plans.
The groups noted that previous congressional efforts to address the HIT—including bipartisan action from nearly 400 Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate to suspend the HIT for 2017—represented a significant step forward for small businesses.