Executives at UnitedHealth Group Inc. don’t sound all that excited when they talk about being in health insurance — but they are excited about the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurer tax.
UnitedHealth executives emphasized today, during a conference call with securities analysts, that the company is getting less of its revenue from health insurance. That means that whether the ACA health insurer tax is in effect or not in a given year has less of an effect on UnitedHealth’s earnings, executives said.
But John Rex, the company’s chief financial officer, said the effect of the return of the health insurer tax cost the customers with affected coverage about $2.6 billion over the course of the year.
“That’s still a very significant number for any company, and a burden for our customers,” Rex said.
David Wichmann, the Minnetonka, Minnesota-based company’s chief executive officer, said the tax costs the average couple of Medicare coverage about $500 per year, and the average family with small-group health plan coverage about $500 per year.
“Our view is that outcome is unacceptable,” Wichmann said.
Wichmann said UnitedHealth will continue to lobby for the repeal of the tax.
The drafters of the ACA legislation included the health insurer tax because they thought the ACA individual and employer “shared responsibility” coverage requirements would bring commercial health insurers windfall profits.