Health care reform keeps going – and sometimes going back. The so-called Cadillac tax, an excise tax on certain high cost employer-sponsored health plans, has been controversial for some time now. A new bill means it may never go into effect.
What is the Cadillac Tax?
The Cadillac Tax is part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is a 40 percent excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored coverage. For 2018, the limit would have been $10,200 per employee for self-only coverage and $27,500 per employee for family coverage.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Cadillac tax wouldn’t affect most plans at first, and it could help slow the growth of health care cost. Repealing the Cadillac tax would cost $193 billion through 2029 and as much as $1 trillion in the 2030s.
However, critics of the tax worry that health care costs will increase faster than the limits, quickly resulting in a greater and greater percentage of plans being impacted. Additionally, the tax may result in less generous plans being offered. According to KFF, 21 percent of employers could be impacted in 2022, when the estimated limits would be $11,200 for self-only coverage and $30,100 for family coverage.
In 2015, a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found that 60 percent of people opposed the tax, including 36 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Independents and 85 percent of Republicans.
When is the Cadillac Tax Scheduled to Take Effect?
The Cadillac Tax was originally scheduled to take effect in 2018. However, it has been delayed.
The first delay meant that it wouldn’t take effect until 2020. Then, in early 2018, a second delay meant that it wouldn’t take effect until 2022.
Currently, this is where the law stands. Unless further delays or repeals are passed, the Cadillac Tax will go into effect in 2022. However, there is reason to believe that this may not actually come to pass.
What’s Happening Now?
After repeated delays, a new bill could repeal the Cadillac Tax for good.
The Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019 (H.R. 748), which would repeal the Cadillac Tax, passed in the House on July 17. According to Representative Joe Courtney, who sponsored the bill, “Out of pocket costs are increasingly unaffordable for families, even those with insurance. If the 40% tax on employer sponsored health plans goes into effect, the affordability crisis will dramatically worsen.”
The bill passed 419 to 6 with bipartisan support. Before it can become law – and before the Cadillac Tax can be repealed – the bill must first pass the Senate.