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The federal spending and tax-break package that passed Congress on December 18, 2015, delaying the implementation of the ACA “Cadillac tax” for two years, is welcome news to businesses of all sizes that offer generous health care plans to attract and retain top talent.
The Cadillac tax will impose a 40% excise tax on health insurance premiums that exceed a specified dollar limit that would be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). With the rapid pace of medical inflation, the tax will outgrow itself quickly and impact many employers not only with the cost of the tax, but the tremendous compliance burden involved in calculating the tax, and the security issues it creates. Mercer has estimated that a third of employers would be subjected to the tax by 2018 when it was originally set to kick in, and that 60% of employers could be hit by 2022.
Under the delay for 2018 and 2019, the tax will now take effect beginning in January 2020. Language in the package also permanently makes the tax a deduction for employers and calls for a study by the comptroller on appropriate age and gender adjustments in consultation with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Nationally, the California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU) supports the delay of the Cadillac/excise tax as a short-term measure, but they remain fully committed to a complete repeal of the tax, based on the projected impact on employer-sponsored insurance coverage. Inclusion of these delays can be an important first step to achieve complete repeal, but in the short term, like NAHU, CAHU hopes the delay will bring some relief to the broker community and their clients.
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