It’s Time to Stop The HIT on Seniors
The rising cost of healthcare remains of paramount concern to many American voters. And this concern holds true for a large and committed voter population—seniors, who continue to show up at the polls far more than any other age group. Despite their consistent voter turnout and engagement on important issues, seniors are still being hit hard by policies that threaten not only their wallet but also their ability to plan ahead on a fixed income. Of immediate concern is the looming 2020 Health Insurance Tax (HIT), set to return on January 1, 2020 to the tune of $16 billion.
For over 50 years, the Medicare program has provided high-quality, affordable healthcare for America’s seniors. However, the return of the HIT will put beneficiaries at risk, with higher premiums, increased cost-sharing and fewer supplemental benefits. With nearly two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries living with chronic conditions, higher taxes on their Medicare coverage will make healthcare costs even more impossible to afford. As a result, seniors will not receive the protection and support they need.
Further, the more than 22 million seniors and Americans with disabilities who rely on Medicare Advantage will be disproportionately affected by the 2020 HIT. Absent immediate Congressional action to delay or repeal the HIT for 2020, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will be met with premium increases by as much as $241 annually. Moreover, the 2020 HIT could put care coordination and other Medicare Advantage benefits at risk for those who need it the most.
This is why we’re calling on Congress to prioritize HIT relief prior to 2020. Thankfully, seniors have a strong champion in Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), lead sponsor of legislation to delay the impact of the HIT on seniors, small businesses and middle-income families. “The impacts of this tax touch our seniors who have earned their benefits,” urged Gardner in a speech on the Senate floor.
With many of America’s seniors living on fixed incomes of less than $20,000 annually, beneficiaries simply can’t afford to pay more for needed healthcare coverage. We urge Congress to provide relief from the looming 2020 HIT before it’s too late. 2020 is just around the corner and seniors will be watching closely.