By Jerry Geisel, Crain News Service
WASHINGTON (Oct. 22, 2014) — A long-awaited form employers will use to provide the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with information regulators will need to calculate the amount of a “reinsurance” fee mandated by the healthcare reform law will be available online starting Oct. 24, HHS disclosed.
Much of the $25 billion in fees to be paid by health plan sponsors over a three-year period for the Transitional Reinsurance Program will be used to partially reimburse commercial insurers writing policies for individuals with high healthcare costs.
Earlier, HHS set the fee at $63 per healthcare plan participant for 2014 and $44 for 2015. The amount of the 2016 fee has not yet been disclosed.
In its Oct. 20 announcement, HHS said the form employers or plan administrators will use to provide enrollment counts — to determine the amount of their 2014 reinsurance fee — will be available Oct. 24 at www.pay.gov.
With information provided on that enrollment form, due by Nov. 15, a computer program will calculate how much employers will have to pay. Employers or plan administrators will then schedule payments.
Under earlier guidance, the 2014 fee can be paid in full with one payment made by Jan. 15, 2015. Alternatively, the fee can be paid in two installments, with a $52.50-per-participant fee paid by Jan. 15, 2015, and the remaining $10.50 installment paid by Nov. 15, 2015.
“Employers have been eagerly awaiting this form” to begin the process of calculating and paying the fee, said Rich Stover, a principal with Buck Consultants at Xerox in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Bills have been introduced in Congress to repeal the reinsurance fee. Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, the sponsor of one of those bills, said earlier that “it is simply outrageous that employers will be forced to pay the tax while they will get nothing in return.”
But no congressional action has been taken on any of those repeal bills.
This report appeared on the website of Crain's Business Insurance magazine, a Chicago-based sister publication of Tire Business.