Payer Roundup—Senator wants to delay health insurance tax to 2022

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Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is leading the charge to delay the Health Insurance Tax's rollout to 2022, plus more insurance headlines. (Pixabay)

Sen. Shaheen introduces bill to delay health insurance tax to 2022

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., has introduced a bill that would delay the rollout of the health insurance tax, a fee levied on payers, by two years.

The tax is set to roll out in 2020, and Shaheen and her co-sponsors would like to instead delay it until 2022. America’s Health Insurance Plans estimates that the tax would cost insurers $16 billion, leading to premium increases of more than 2%.

Shaheen said that would mean premiums in her state’s markets could rise by $162 per person in the individual market and $441 per family in the small group market.

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“Patients deserve access to affordable, quality care—full stop,” Shaheen said. “Making healthcare coverage more affordable requires an all hands on deck approach, and suspending the health insurance tax is one component of that effort.” (Announcement)

Massachusetts considers expanding Medicare subsidies for low-income seniors

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has included in his annual budget submissions a provision that would allocate additional funding for a program that covers Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket costs for low-income seniors.

Baker is proposing that the state spend $7 million per year to leverage $100 million in funding from the federal government. It would increase the number of beneficiaries who qualify for the subsidies from 18,000 to about 43,000.

Seniors who qualify would be eligible for subsidies across the Medicare benefit, including Part D.

“This will make a big difference to a lot of people whose out-of-pocket on their drug cost is high,” Baker said. (Boston Herald)

New Georgia Gov. Kemp signals intent to seek waiver to boost Medicaid coverage

Georgia has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but new Gov. Brian Kemp has indicated that he’s open to an alternative solution to expand coverage.

Democrats in the state have long called for Medicaid expansion, but Kemp said in his first speech as governor that he intends to use $1 million to explore waiver options to increase coverage.

Kemp didn’t expand on his plans, as such a waiver could take on several forms.

“We will drive competition and improve quality while encouraging innovation,” Kemp said. (Georgia Health News)

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