Health law fee: $63 per pol­icy

The ob­scure charge is meant to off­set the cost of cov­er­ing those with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions.

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - By Ri­cardo Alonso-zaldivar Fee

Your med­i­cal plan is fac­ing an un­ex­pected ex­pense, so you prob­a­bly are, too. It’s a new, $63-per-head fee to cush­ion the cost of cov­er­ing peo­ple with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions un­der Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s health care over­haul.

The charge, buried in a re­cent reg­u­la­tion, works out to tens of mil­lions of dol­lars for the largest com­pa­nies, em­ploy­ers say. Most of that is likely to be passed on to work­ers.

Em­ployee ben­e­fits lawyer Chantel Sheaks calls it a “sleeper is­sue” with sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial con­se­quences, par­tic­u­larly for large em­ploy­ers.

“Es­pe­cially at a time when we are fac­ing eco­nomic un­cer­tainty, (com­pa­nies will) be hit with a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar as­sess­ment with­out get­ting any­thing back for it,” said Sheaks, a prin­ci­pal at Buck Con­sul­tants, a Xerox sub­sidiary.

Based on fig­ures pro­vided in the reg­u­la­tion, em­ployer and in­di­vid­ual health plans cov­er­ing an es­ti­mated 190 mil­lion Amer­i­cans could owe the per­per­son fee.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion says it is a tem­po­rary as­sess­ment levied for three years start­ing in 2014, de­signed to

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