By Jerry Geisel, Crain News Service
WASHINGTON (Nov. 18, 2013 ) — A stiff fee created by the healthcare reform law that is paid by self-funded employers and other healthcare plans sponsors and will be used to partially reimburse commercial insurers covering individuals with high health costs would be repealed under bipartisan legislation introduced in the House of Representatives on Nov. 14.
The fee—initially $63 per healthcare plan participant as authorized under the Transitional Reinsurance Program—is intended to generate $25 billion in revenues over three years. Large self-insured employers would be hit with bills running in the millions of dollars for the first year alone.
Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, who introduced the repeal bill, H.R. 3489, along with Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., said "it is simply outrageous that employers will be forced to pay the tax while they will get nothing in return."
Employer groups agree.
"Hitting employers with a fee of $63 for every person in their healthcare plans doesn't make any sense to us," said Steve Wojcik, vice president of public policy at the National Business Group on Health in Washington.
The Obama administration recently said it would propose in future regulations an exemption from the fee, which begins in 2014, for "certain self-insured, and self-administered plans" in 2015 and 2016.
But that exemption is too limited, Rep. Tiberi said, noting that even with that exemption, most employers still will be liable for the fee.
"The administration's intention is too little, too late," he said. "At a time when so many families are losing the insurance they have and like, we need to provide stability and security, not provide another incentive for employers to discontinue their coverage."
This report appeared in Business Insurance magazine, a Chicago-based sister publication of Tire Business.