An excerpt from IRS Form 720 (IRS image)

U.S. health insurers and self-insured health plans are supposed to start paying a new federal research fee July 31.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Fee will cost $1 per covered life for plan years that end before Oct. 1, 2013.

The fee will jump to $2 per life for plan years ending from Oct. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2014. After 2014, PCORI fee amount will rise along with national per-capita health spending, according to Carrie Herrick and Carolyn Daniels of Bryan Cave, a law firm.

The PCORI fee is supposed to pay for “comparative effectiveness research,” or efforts to determine which medical devices and procedures work best, which are the cheapest, and which provide the best combination of quality and efficiency.

Medicaid, Medicare and military plans are exempt while civilian government employee plans, retiree plans and some high-value flexible spending account plans will have to pay the fee.

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