On Feb. 28, ABC, as a member of the Partnership for Employer-sponsored Coverage, sent a letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, providing recommendations on how to address America’s rising health care costs. The coalition represents businesses of all sizes and is committed to working to ensure that employer-sponsored coverage is strengthened and remains a viable, affordable option for decades to come.
Some of the policies the coalition urged Chairman Alexander to consider include:
• Promoting innovations and diversity of plan designs and offerings for employees: Employers have led the way in benefits design and innovation for decades and will continue to do so for decades to come. There is no one-size-fits-all employer health plan, nor should the federal government enact or implement laws that stifle an employer’s ability to develop benefits offerings that meet the needs of its specific workforce. All levels of government should work constructively with private sector employers to ensure that employers have the tools and flexibility to foster benefits design and innovations that provide employees with benefits that are crucial to the wellbeing of themselves and their families.
• Providing employers with compliance relief from burdensome regulations: The ability to offer coverage to employees and the capacity to operate a business for its core purpose are not mutually exclusive functions. An employer offer of coverage is not merely a transaction in which an employee fills out paperwork, enrolls in coverage and receives an insurance card—it is a multifaceted fiscal and operational commitment at the core of any business. As employers are making the decisions to offer coverage and determine which type of coverage to offer their employees, a critical aspect of this deliberation is the administrative compliance costs and complexities associated with coverage. Specifically, the coalition would like Congress to provide employers with compliance relief under three operations-related areas under the Affordable Care Act employer requirements: annual reporting to the Internal Revenue Service; the employee full-time definition; and the definition of a seasonal employee.
• Repealing the Affordable Care Act taxes on employer-sponsored coverage, including the health insurance tax: For small and mid-size employers who disproportionally rely on coverage through the full insured market, in which an employer purchases a pre-designed plan from an insurance carrier, the HIT strikes a direct blow to their plan premiums. The HIT is a direct tax on fully-insured carriers that is passed along to the customer—small and mid-size businesses and the millions of hardworking Americans and their families that are enrolled in this type of employment-based coverage. The inclusion of the HIT was as an offset for other provisions of the ACA. The consequences of this tax levied on the fully insured market mean higher premiums on employees and employers.
Read the full letter here.