Two Ways State Lawmakers Can Help Control Healthcare Costs
The high price of healthcare is among the major reasons why Connecticut’s business costs are not among the most competitive in the U.S. With some healthcare cost factors under state lawmakers’ control, they can help contain those costs by making the right decisions on two big issues this year.
Hidden Healthcare Tax
Among the major reasons for rising health insurance costs are the myriad of taxes and fees required under federal and state law to fund various healthcare matters.
Now, state lawmakers are considering yet another tax that will lead to yet another bump in healthcare costs.
This new $3.2 million tax, contained in SB 21, is designed to help fund the State Innovation Model (SIM). Feeding into concerns that healthcare taxes are piling up, the SIM tax is not a one-time-only tax but is likely to snowball with ever-increasing assessments.
What’s more, although SIM is supposed to benefit everyone in the state, this tax will be paid mainly by Connecticut businesses and at that only on employers that offer their employees health insurance.
Since SIM is designed to benefit all Connecticut lawmakers it is unfair to charge the group of employers that offer insurance to their employees.
And while Connecticut is joining other states in seeking federal dollars to pay for SIM, it does not appear that other states are planning to assess employers to pay for it. If the legislature wants to help fund this program beyond the federal assistance that may be on the way, it should be done through the General Fund.
Pushing the Price Tag–More Mandates
The legislature also is considering a number of new health benefit mandates that will increase health insurance premiums for fully insured employers and individuals–mostly hitting smaller companies that cannot afford to self-insure.
Health benefit mandates are new procedures or services that the government requires health plans to cover, which in turn increases the cost of those plans.
In addition, federal healthcare legislation requires the state to pay for any new health benefit mandates for plans sold through the state’s health insurance exchange.
So, these new mandates will not only be an additional cost to certain employers but the state as well.
CBIA urges lawmakers to reject efforts to increase the cost of healthcare and health insurance in Connecticut.
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