Part of the IRS building (Photo: Allison Bell/ALM)

The Internal Revenue Service says U.S. health insurers as a group may have to pay a total of $15.5 billion in annual Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurer fees for 2020.

That’s up 8.4%, from a total of $14.3 billion for the 2018 fee year, according to IRS calculations.

(Related: Tax Deal Could Block Health Insurer ‘Fee’ in 2017)

IRS officials have posted the new health insurer fee total in IRS Notice 2019-50.

The notice is supposed to help health insurers comply with Section 9010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

PPACA is one of the two laws in the ACA package. PPACA Section 9010 requires health insurers to pay a large amount of fees to the U.S. Treasury. Health insurers call the fee a health insurer tax.

The ACA created several new health insurance subsidy programs. The ACA also imposed a mandate for many individuals to own a minimum level of health coverage, or else pay a penalty, and for many employers to provide a minimum level of health coverage for many employees, or else pay a penalty.

ACA drafters included the health insurer tax because of a belief that the new ACA subsidies and coverage mandates would give health insurers windfall profits.

Congress has let the tax take effect for some years, including 2018, and it has suspended the tax for some years, including 2019.

Here’s how the IRS addresses the status of the tax for the 2020 fee year: “Absent legislative action, the fee will resume in 2020,”officials say in the notice.

 

The IRS lists Rachel of the IRS Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Passthroughs & Special Industries) as the notice author and contact person.

Resources

A copy of IRS Notice 2019-50 is available here.

— Read Reid Lugs Out Senate Health Bill, on ThinkAdvisor.

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