SC business owners share concern over health insurance tax

VIDEO: Health Insurance tax affecting business owners

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - On Saturday, U.S. representative Joe Cunningham met with Lowcountry business owners to discuss how a re-implementation of the Health insurance Tax, also known as HIT, could raise premiums for both the businesses and employees.

“Sometimes things can be well-intended but have unintended consequences, and I think this HIT tax is something just like that,” Cunningham said.

The Health Insurance Tax passed as a part of the Affordable Care Act as an annual fee charged to insurance companies, but policyholders end up footing the bill in the form of higher premiums.

Business owner Rick Towne and his family have owned auto parts stores in the Charleston area for almost five decades. Each year, Towne said he sees steep increases in the cost of providing healthcare for his 105 employees.

“The healthcare falls within our top four expenses, it gets more expensive than our rent,” Towne said. “For our business this year, it’s going to be $340,000 just in healthcare costs.”

The tax is set to be re-imposed in 2020, but many Republicans and Democrats in Congress have co-signed the bill, “Healthcare Insurance Tax Relief Act of 2019” which would delay implementation of the HIT tax for 2021 and 2022.

In the meantime, Cunningham said legislators also need to work on a longer-term change.

“This is just temporary right now,” Cunningham said. “But it is a solution for the time being. It does give us some time to look for more of a permanent fix to make our healthcare system better.”

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