By Jerry Geisel, Crain News Service
WASHINGTON (Nov. 19, 2014) — Federal regulators have given employers three more weeks — until Dec. 5 — to submit a form with information that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will use to calculate the amount of a “reinsurance” fee mandated by the healthcare reform law.
The form had been due by Nov. 15, but regulators, noting they had “received requests for an extension,” said the new filing deadline would be at 11:59 p.m. Dec. 5.
Employers will welcome the extension, experts say.
“The additional time is welcome news for employers who have been struggling with the submission process,” said Richard Stover, a principal with Buck Consultants at Xerox in Secaucus, N.J.
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.
With the information provided on that enrollment form, 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.
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.