As we move closer to June and premium rates being locked in for next year, small business owners are increasingly concerned about the looming Health Insurance Tax (HIT) set to return on January 1, 2020. Absent immediate Congressional action to provide relief, small business owners, their employees and families will face an estimated $500 increase for their insurance coverage in 2020 alone.
Year-over-year premium increases add up for small business owners like Terry Thorne who runs The Thornewood Inn in Massachusetts. The HIT directly limits Terry’s ability to provide employee benefits such as a health coverage and hire additional employees or expand his business. “The HIT is expected to raise premiums by hundreds of dollars per employee in 2020 alone,” noted Thorne. “When you already pay so many expenses, a few hundred dollars extra here and there has a way of adding up until you can’t run a business at all! There’s only so much you can spend before you’re out of business.”
Throughout the country small business owners are struggling with how to support their employees while still making ends meet as a result of the increased cost of the HIT. Andrew Graham, a small business owner in Colorado shared how the HIT impacts his 60 employees and his business. “If the health insurance tax returns in 2020, it will cost me an extra $25,000” said Graham.
Lois Campbell, a small business owner in Minnesota, has seen firsthand that the rising cost of coverage means she can no longer offer the same type of benefits to her employees. Campbell lamented that, “when health coverage costs increased due to the HIT, we finally just couldn’t afford it…Small businesses like ours need premiums to go down, not up due to the HIT! Every extra dollar small businesses have to pay out makes it less likely that they’ll be able to continue.”
The small business community knows the clock is ticking for Congress to provide HIT relief. That’s why they are urging Congress to prioritize efforts in both the House and Senate to delay or repeal the 2020 HIT. Recently, Antonio Collins, a small business owner in Iowa, called on Congress to continue the HIT suspension moving forward. “Members of Congress must accept that the health insurance tax was a mistake. The best thing to do is keep the tax on hold. They successfully passed a moratorium for 2019, so it should be possible to do the same for 2020. With insurance rate approval season bearing down, however, they need to act right away to protect entrepreneurs and families,” commented Collins.
Currently, there are three bipartisan legislative efforts in the 116thCongress:
- S. 80 a full repeal bill championed by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ);
- S. 172 a 2-year delay bill championed by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), John Barrasso (R-WY), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Doug Jones (D-AL) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ); and
- H.R. 1398 a 2-year delay bill championed by Representatives Ami Bera (D-CA-7), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5), Jackie Walorski (R-IN-2) and Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24).
It is critical that HIT relief be extended so small businesses and middle-income families can plan ahead for their future. Join our coalition along with the millions of small business owners and their employees throughout that country that are calling on Congress to #StopTheHIT and extend HIT relief into 2020 and beyond.