Sep 3, 2019

Return of ACA insurer tax will bring in $15.5 billion

Insurers pass on the ACA tax in premiums. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Health insurance companies will have to pay $15.5 billion next year if the Affordable Care Act's tax on insurers resumes as planned, the IRS said in a notice on Tuesday.

The big picture: Insurers hate the tax because it eats into profits, and companies pass along the costs to consumers through higher premiums. The industry has a few months left to persuade lawmakers to delay or kill the tax.

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The war over Medicare Advantage audits heats up

A doctor visits an older adult at his home. Photo: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The health insurance industry again is attacking federal proposals that would more aggressively audit Medicare Advantage claims for improper coding — audits that would save taxpayers upwards of $4.5 billion over the next decade.

The big picture: Medicare Advantage is the growth engine of the insurance industry, which has successfully delayed changes and neutered audits.

Go deeperArrowSep 3, 2019

Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax could have slashed billionaires' fortunes

Photo: Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The top 15 richest Americans could have seen their net worth decline by more than half — hundreds of billions of dollars — had Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax plan been in place since 1982, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: A new paper by two French economists, Berkeley professors Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, who helped Warren devise the proposed tax, shows how a wealth tax of "just a few percentage points might erode fortunes over time and presumably reduce wealth inequality."

Go deeperArrowSep 10, 2019

The Blue Cross Blue Shield tax break rolls on

Health Care Service Corp. headquarters (right). Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Health Care Service Corp., the parent of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in 5 states, did not pay any federal income taxes in the first half of 2019. Instead, it got a $454 million tax refund, according to company financial documents.

The big picture: This comes after HCSC received a $1.7 billion federal tax refund in 2018 and highlights how Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers continue to be some of the biggest beneficiaries of the 2017 Republican tax overhaul.

Go deeperArrowSep 24, 2019