House lawmakers introduce HIT delay bill
March 18, 2019
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers recently introduced the Farm Bureau-supported Health Insurance Tax Relief Act (H.R. 1398), which would prevent the Health Insurance Tax from going into effect until after 2021.
Most farmers, ranchers and other small businesses do not have a large enough pool of employees to self-insure, so they purchase health insurance for themselves, their families and their employees on the fully insured market.
"The bill addresses one of the major concerns that farmers and ranchers have related to health insurance — cost. The health insurance tax has increased health insurance costs for farmers, ranchers and other small businesses by imposing a levy on the net premiums of health insurance companies, which is then passed on to consumers," American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a letter thanking the bill's authors, Reps. Ami Bera, D-Calif., Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and Kenny Marchant, R-Texas.
There is a moratorium on the collection of the HIT during 2019, but in 2020 the HIT will collectively add an estimated $16 billion to the cost of coverage for individuals, small businesses, families and others. This works out to an average $500 in added health insurance premiums per family.
The two-year delay the bill would put in place "is needed to provide stability to small business owners and middle-income families so they can continue to purchase health care coverage," Duvall said, pledging Farm Bureau's support in helping to get the measure passed.
Farm Bureau also supports two HIT-related Senate bills, the Jobs and Premium Protection Act (S. 80) and the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act of 2019 (S. 172). The former would repeal the HIT, while the latter would delay it until 2022.