Employers are trying to prepare for a little-noticed fee in the Obama administration’s new federal health-care law that will charge them $63 for each person they provide health insurance for in 2014 and beyond. This additional fee is one of the clearest cost increases companies face when the new law takes full effect. It has been calculated that companies and other plan providers will pay $25 billion over three years to create a fund for insurance companies to offset the cost of covering people with high medical bills.
The $63 fee will apply to plans covering millions of Americans in 2014. The ObamaCare program applies to employers that assume the risk for workers’ medical bills, in other words are “self-insured”, and many private plans sold by insurers. The fee is scheduled to be smaller for 2015 and 2016 as the fund balance grows. However, it is noted that at this time regulators have not set those fee amounts for those years.
The fee was apparently heavily lobbied for by the insurance industry as they claim it will help offset the cost of providing health coverage for those individuals with pre-existing conditions. The new law forbids insurance companies from denying coverage to those individuals. Insurers claim that the fee will help maintain or even lower the cost of health insurance in general.
Many large companies are currently heavily lobbying government officials to postpone or even exempt their business from the fee. They claim it is just one of many projected costs associated with the implementation of ObamaCare
While the Federal government just agreed to take over the collection of the fee, instead of leaving it to the states, it is not clear how it will be collected. While submission of the fee will probably not be a payroll function, HR departments will inevitably be involved as HR administrators have the best handle on employee counts and status.