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House Passes Omnibus Bill with Big “I” Priorities

Package contains two year delay of “Cadillac tax” and protection of policyholder assets.

IMG_1470.gifWASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 18, 2015 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today praised the U.S. House of Representative for passing legislation that delays the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) 40% excise tax or “Cadillac tax” as part of a larger bill to fund the government. The legislation passed the House by a 316-113 vote. The bill delays the “Cadillac tax” for two years and also enacts the “Policyholder Protection Act” which ensures that insurance companies will be able to operate as intended by making the protection of policyholder assets their first priority.

“The Big ‘I’ has been greatly concerned about the impact of the ACA’s 40% excise tax,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “This destructive tax was scheduled to hit many of our small business members and their clients hard starting in 2018. While not perfect, this two year delay helps lay the groundwork for the eventual repeal of this damaging tax.  We thank the House of Representatives, especially Reps. Frank Guinta (R-New Hampshire) and Joe Courtney (D-Connecticut), for their hard work regarding the Cadillac tax and we urge the Senate to pass this legislation so that it can make its way to the President’s desk.”
 
Originally scheduled to go into effect in 2018, the ACA would have levied a 40% tax on health benefits that exceed an established annual cost. That year, health plans exceeding $10,200 in value for individuals or $27,500 in value for families would have been subject to this 40% tax. In the future, if enacted, this tax will impact a greater number of individuals as health care costs continue to rise.

According to a March survey by Mercer, a benefits consulting firm, about one-third of employers would have faced the tax in 2018 if they did nothing to change their plans. By 2022, almost 60% would have faced the levy. The Alliance to Fight the 40 predicts that implementation of the “Cadillac tax” would lead to a reduction in employer-sponsored coverage and an increase in employee cost sharing – the exact opposite of the ACA’s stated goals. This would be harmful to small businesses and middle-income Americans across the country.

“The Big ’I’ is grateful to the more than 290 Representatives and 37 Senators from both parties who have cosponsored legislation to repeal the ‘Cadillac tax,’” says Charles E. Symington, Big “I” senior vice president for external and government affairs. “Without their efforts, this two year delay would not have been possible. While we believe the two year delay of the tax is an important first step, the Big ‘I’ will continue to support fully repealing this tax and looks forward to working with Congress in a bipartisan spirit to ensure this tax never sees the light of day.”  

“The Big ‘I’ also appreciates the inclusion of the ‘Policyholder Protection Act,’ a bill which passed the full House in November,” says Symington. “The association has always supported state regulation of insurance and this common-sense legislation further reinforces the strong consumer protections contained within the state oversight model.” 

The “Policyholder Protection Act” reaffirms that state insurance regulators have the authority to safeguard the capital of insurance companies that are part of larger diversified financial institutions.  It also prevents federal banking regulators from transferring the assets of a state regulated insurance company or subsidiary to an affiliated bank if state insurance commissioners believe such a transfer would be harmful to policyholders.

Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.

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Alexandria VA 22314
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email: info@iiaba.net

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