Press Releases

Better Medicare Alliance Urges Congress to Delay Health Insurance Tax (HIT)

Washington, D.C. Today Better Medicare Alliance (BMA), the leading advocacy coalition of 90 organizations and 300,000 senior advocates in support of Medicare Advantage sent a letter to U.S. Congress calling for action to delay the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Tax (HIT) scheduled to impact Medicare beneficiaries in 2018.

If Congress does not act to delay the HIT, premiums for nearly 19 million Medicare Advantage beneficiaries could increase by $22 billion nationwide in 2018 - an additional $245 per year for each enrollee including those who rely on Special Needs Plans and Employer Group Waiver Plans.

A recent actuarial analysis from Oliver Wyman indicates that beyond 2018, premium increases for senior and disabled Medicare Advantage beneficiaries could grow to more than $300 in 2023, and cumulatively could be more than $3,000 over the next 10 years. Costly premiums would put the high-quality, comprehensive health coverage Medicare Advantage provides financially out for reach for millions of Americans.

“While much of the public’s attention has focused on the HIT’s harmful effects on individual and employer group consumers, we hasten to remind lawmakers that the HIT will negatively impact seniors and disabled Americans on Medicare Advantage. Many Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are low income — over 37% of Medicare Advantage enrollees have annual incomes of less than $20,000. We hear from seniors every day that they are deeply worried about the possibility of rising premiums,” said Allyson Y. Schwartz, BMA President and CEO.

Delay of the HIT has bipartisan support. In 2016, nearly 400 Democrats and Republicans in Congress voted to delay the impact of the HIT for 2017. As a result, the average Medicare Advantage monthly premium is 4 percent lower this year compared to 2016 when the tax was in effect.

BMA urges Congress to act to delay the HIT upon their return from August recess.