I just received a notice last week from my health insurance provider that rates at my office would be increasing an average of more than 25%. It’s not unexpected. Apparently, health insurance is one of the few industries which can regularly raise their prices by double digits each year without retribution.
But what is unexpected is that the increase is creeping us slowly towards what the Senate Finance Bill is calling a Cadillac plan. My bare bones little plan (no dental, no vision) now costs about $5,000 per year for individuals and $15,000 for families. And I happen to have one of the latter.
The Senate Finance Committee had proposed a 40% tax on the portion of insurance which exceeds $8,000 per year for individuals and $21,000 per year for families. If we get similar increases in our health care plans for the next two years, I’ll be extremely close to being at risk. God forbid we add dental (and I have three kids with crooked-y teethed parents so there’s no dispute that this will likely be a necessity at this point). Who knew that I had a Cadillac plan?
Notwithstanding public options and other controversial parts of the health care reform bill, the real issue that remains of concern to many is how the plan is going to be paid for… In addition to the 40% tax on those Cadillac plans proposed by the Senate, the bill as recently passed by the House would impose a 5.4% income tax on individuals making more than $500,000 and joint filers making more than $1 million. If existing tax cuts expire in 2011, which appears increasingly likely, the top income tax rate would grow to 45% – a 10% increase.
But here’s a thought. In an increasingly dim economy, isn’t it a little scary to rely on higher taxes from top wage earners to foot the bill?
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