Health insurers balk at health bill taxes

Jan. 7, 2010 at 5:50 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- An insurance industry lobbyist said the nation's new health plan would cost U.S. insurance firms $225 billion over the next ten years.

"Our fees are going to be ... probably in the neighborhood of $225 billion or so," said Karen Ignagni, president of Americans Health Insurance Plans, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The Senate version of the bill includes a 40 percent tax on individual plans worth $8,500 and family plans worth $23,000, the Journal said.

In addition, the bill calls for a fee that is estimated will generate $60 billion in 10 years.

Insurance companies also stand to lose with cuts in Medicare Advantage funding called for in both the House and Senate versions of the bill.

The Senate version calls for new bidding for private firms to participate in administering the program. The House bill is expected to lower federal reimbursement to companies by $170 billion.

Another $25 billion could be saved when rates fall after new clients are absorbed into the system, the Journal said.

Ignagni said the industry would accept some new taxes, but was especially critical of the tax on premium policies.

Healthcare reform is expected to provide 30 million more people with health insurance.

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