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Health Insurers Mount Major Defense of 'Coverage at Work'

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Health insurers have started a new, nationwide campaign to increase support in Washington for group health and financial protection benefits.

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) says it will be running ads over the next year to “bring employer-provided coverage to the forefront, highlighting the critical role this type of coverage plays in improving Americans’ health and financial security.”

(Related: 10 Big Tax Expenditures and How They’ve Changed)

The Washington-based group has posted a collection of [email protected] resources, including a version of its first [email protected] ad, a background document, and results from a survey, here.

AHIP hopes the campaign will lead to permanent repeal of the Affordable Care Act  health insurance tax and “Cadillac plan tax,”

AHIP also hopes to ward off any new efforts to tax employer-sponsored benefits.


AHIP talks in the background document about how employer-sponsored coverage works, how employers are updating their benefits packages, employee benefits tax advantages, and “policy threats to employer-provided coverage.”

Congress adopted the health insurance tax, which is simply a tax insurers, when it created the Affordable Care Act, because of a belief that the ACA Medicaid expansion and individual coverage mandate provisions would lead to windfall profits for health insurers.

The Cadillac plan tax could impose a high excise tax on what the government classifies as high-cost health benefits packages. If the Cadillac plan takes effect in 2022, as required under current law, the tax “will force businesses to provide fewer benefit options and less comprehensive coverage, while increasing deductibles,” AHIP says.

AHIP says policy proposals to eliminate or cap the current employer health benefits tax exclusion amount would also amount to a significant tax increase on working Americans at all income levels, and especially on those with a household income of $20,000 to $30,000 per year.

“Millions will lose health coverage, and turn instead to government programs, such as Medicaid or subsidized individual market coverage, at a substantial cost to the taxpayers,” AHIP says.

In a list of proposals for strengthening employer-provided coverage, AHIP includes steps such as eliminating burdensome taxes, encouraging employers to offer worksite clinics and wellness programs, and streamlining regulatory reporting requirements.

AHIP Institute 2018

AHIP is rolling out the campaign as it, and its new president, Matt Eyles, head toward AHIP’s annual conference, the AHIP Institute event. The conference starts June 20 in San Diego.

Member health insurers face so much regulatory upheaval that AHIP has given one entire conference educational track the title, “Navigating Uncertainty, Health Reform and Market Transition.”

— Read CBO Identifies Targets for Health Spending Cutson ThinkAdvisor.

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