Published 5:43 pm, Thursday, September 21, 2017
Photo: Daniel Acker /Bloomberg
Rising health care costs threaten to stymie Texas’ nation-leading job creation and economic growth.
The National Federation of Independent Business estimates Texas could lose between 7,323 and 14,463 jobs by 2023 if Congress does not act now to stop the rising costs of health care.
A solution is at hand. Congress can directly lower Americans’ health insurance premiums by delaying the health insurance tax, or HIT, a multibillion-dollar annual fee created by the Affordable Care Act that is slated to go into effect in January.
The HIT would be levied against health insurance companies, but ultimately Texas businesses and families would foot the bill. It is estimated consumers will pay 3 to 5 percent higher premiums in 2018 due to the HIT.
According to a recent analysis of the HIT by global consulting firm Oliver Wyman, in Texas:
Medicare Advantage recipients will see their premiums increase $277 in 2018;
Fully insured small-business owners and their employees will experience a $492 increase in premiums for family coverage and a $180 increase for individual coverage;
Fully insured large employers and their employees will see a $545 increase in premiums for family coverage and a $184 increase for individual coverage; and
Medicaid programs will incur an additional cost of $170 for each enrollee in 2018.
There’s precedent for delaying the tax. In 2015, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle agreed to a one-year delay of the HIT for calendar year 2017.
If Congress does not again delay the tax, we will see Texas businesses struggle with increased costs, consumers burdened with higher premiums, and insurers forced to shift to less efficient models for delivery of health coverage.
Contact your congressman. Affordable health care is an issue that impacts everyone.
Jeff Moseley is the CEO of the Texas Association of Business.