Payers share tax windfalls with employees, consumers

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Payers are sharing their savings from the tax overhaul. (Image: Getty/NicoElNino)

Health insurers are reinvesting windfalls from the tax overhaul in a number of areas, with some initiatives benefiting members and others focusing on the payers' employees. 

Aflac and CVS Health will all invest at least part of their tax savings in improved benefits, bonuses and training for employees, the companies announced. 

Aflac announced that it will invest $250 million in programs in the U.S. over the next 3 to 5 years, including a boost to its 401(k) match and adding additional hospital and accident insurance to its benefits packages. 

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"We are pleased that these tax reforms provide Aflac with an opportunity to increase our investments in initiatives that reflect our company values: providing for our employees in the long and short term, ensuring future growth for our company and giving back to the community," Aflac CEO Dan Amos said in the announcement. 

RELATED: Most for-profit hospitals will benefit from US tax overhaul, but 2 big name providers stand to gain the most 

CVS Health announced that its investments in employees will total $425 million a year as it will increase wages without increasing premiums for insurance packages. It will also launch a new parental leave program. CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo said in the announcement that the companies plans are in line with promises it made ahead of the tax overhaul. 

Other major payers like Anthem, Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina have announced similar moves. Anthem will increase its 401(k) contribution like Aflac, and Humana will increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour. have announced similar moves. Cigna announced similar steps, and BCBSNC will offer $1,000 bonuses to staffers. 

In addition, some insurers announced they will reinvest their savings in programs for members and community health initiatives. Aflac said that part of its investments will go to expand its programs for families facing childhood cancer. CVS said it will also increase spending on improvements such as increased use of data analytics and care management. 

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, the largest payer in New Jersey, will also offer to consumers some of its projected $550 million in tax savings over the next five years. It's planning a $125 million investment in integrating behavioral health and primary care and will partner with the state's Department of Banking and Insurance for another $150 million initiative.

RELATED: Hospital Impact—The tangled web of healthcare and taxes

Health Care Service Corporation will embark on a $1.5 billion project over the next three years that's aimed at reducing care costs for its members. HCSC said in an announcement that the project was funded in part by savings from the tax overhaul. 

It will also focus on community health initiatives and collaborative care models, according to the announcement, in a program it's calling "Affordability Cures." 

“As a customer-owned company, our focus has always been on our members, and Affordability Cures is all about our investment in them," Paula Steiner, CEO of HCSC, said in the announcement. 

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