Shaheen Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Delay Health Insurance Tax for Two Years and Help Reduce Premiums for Granite Staters

January 18, 2019

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act with Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Doug Jones (D-AL), John Barrasso (R-WY), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Tim Scott (R-SC). The bipartisan legislation would provide a two-year delay of the Health Insurance Tax (HIT). The tax is a fee to health insurers on their health policy premiums that increases costs on nearly everyone in the marketplace, from seniors to small businesses. 

This legislation builds on previous bipartisan efforts from Shaheen, Barrasso, Jones and Gardner, who sent a letter to Senate leadership in November 2018 that called for passage of legislation to suspend the health insurance tax for 2020. According to America’s Health Insurance Plans, if implemented in 2020, the Health Insurance Tax would levy $16 billion in fees on health insurers. If Congress fails to act, the HIT tax will increase premiums by 2.2%, raising premiums costs in New Hampshire by $162 per person in the individual market and $441 per family in New Hampshire’s small-group market.

“Patients deserve access to affordable, quality health care – full stop. Making health care coverage more affordable requires an all hands on deck approach, and suspending the health insurance tax is one component of that effort,” said Senator Shaheen. “This bipartisan bill will improve our health care law and help reduce expensive health insurance premiums, which are impacting Granite State small businesses and residents. Congress needs to work together and reach across the aisle to address the problems affecting our health care system, and this bill is an important step forward. I’ll continue to prioritize bipartisan efforts that will decrease premiums, stabilize health insurance markets and provide quality care to every American.”

Senator Shaheen has consistently fought to protect and improve the Affordable Care Act. Shaheen introduced legislation that would bring stability to the health insurance marketplace by permanently funding payments for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) and making cost-sharing reductions available to more Americans. This cost-sharing reduction assistance helps to reduce deductibles and co-pays for low-income patients who are enrolled in marketplace coverage. Restoring payments to reimburse health plans for providing these cost-sharing reductions would result in a significant reduction in premiums.  Additionally, Senator Shaheen joined a bipartisan group of Senators in support of the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017, which would lower premiums and improve quality of care for patients and families across the nation. Senator Shaheen also recently authored legislation to help reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients with marketplace coverage who receive care from hospitals and physicians that are not in the patient’s provider network.