Businesses Facing Higher Healthcare Costs from State, U.S.
Lawmakers are still considering ways to increase the cost of health care in Connecticut—just as more is being learned about how recent federal health care changes will also increase costs.
The two most obvious cost-drivers lawmakers are mulling over are a new tax on hospitals and a stack of new of health care mandates. Both types of proposals will increase costs that will be immediately shifted onto Connecticut consumers—including most businesses—by insurers and hospitals.
The proposed mandates will require insurers to cover more procedures and treatments in their policies. But more coverage means more cost, and health care consumers will be left to pick up the tab.
Ditto for the new tax on hospitals’ gross receipts (pegged at 5.5% in some proposals), which also be will be paid for by businesses and other consumers.
All of this comes just as businesses are learning how the new federal health care reform law will impact them—specifically, how it will cost them more.
At a CBIA conference this week, more than 300 attendees learned how the new federal health care reform legislation could affect their companies and employees.
Talk centered on how the law is expected to impact employers, business taxes, the insurance industry, and insurance markets.
For example, businesses learned that if they are a certain size (50 or more employees), they can be penalized if their employees purchase subsidized insurance coverage through one of the to-be-created government-run health insurance exchanges. This penalty would apply regardless of whether they offer insurance, though it is steeper if they don't offer coverage at all.
In addition, taxes on medical devices and insurance companies will be shifted onto consumers and increase their costs.
Some of the federal changes will go into effect immediately, but most won't hit until 2014. Connecticut businesses are concerned that all they are hearing is how health care costs—already very high—are going to increase, especially if the legislature approves the mandates and hospital tax.
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