News Column

Business Groups Warn of Health Taxes

Jan. 22, 2013

Several New York state business groups are warning that the Affordable Care Act will force those with private health insurance to pay 35 percent more for health care in 2014.

The groups, along with the New York State Conference of Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans, last week released an analysis of health insurance taxes that projects New Yorkers with private health coverage will pay roughly $4.8 billion in state health insurance taxes this year.

According to "The Facts About Taxes on New York's Privately Insured," because employers pay most of the private health insurance premiums, the state tax on private coverage is a "hidden" business tax. Among all business taxes levied by the state, when totaled, the taxes imposed on the privately insured would rank as New York's single highest business tax, the groups say.

The report was released by The Business Council of New York State, Unshackle Upstate and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Adding to the state tax burden are a number of new federal health insurance taxes. For example, the groups allege that beginning in 2014, New York's businesses and families will be forced to pay an additional $1.7 billion, bringing the total health insurance tax bill to more than $6.5 billion, as a result of two new taxes included in the federally required Affordable Care Act.

The report highlights four state taxes that directly affect the cost of health insurance premium. They are:

--A tax on health plans for each covered life that they insure, known as the Covered Lives Assessment: $1.05 billion.

--A 9.63 percent tax on "sales" hospital and other health care services: $3.02 billion.

--"Assessments" on all health plans to fund the State Insurance Department operations: $331 million.

--Premium taxes on those who receive health coverage from commercial insurers: $406 million.

"The 2013 Unshackle Upstate Policy Agenda is about improving the upstate economy and promoting policies that will help our state thrive," said Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate. "Imposing new taxes and fees, especially hidden ones, will not let us achieve our goal. New York cannot attract and retain great employers and employees if it is not competitive. And tacking on billions of dollars' worth of veiled health insurance taxes and fees is unacceptable."

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Distributed by MCT Information Services



Source: (c) 2013 the Niagara Gazette (Niagara Falls, N.Y.)


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