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Benefit consultant urges Cadillac tax delay


The effective date of a health care reform law provision that will impose, starting in 2018, a 40% excise tax on group health care premiums that exceed $10,200 for single coverage and $27,500 for family coverage should be delayed, a benefit consultant is recommending.

“Given the many unresolved issues about how the tax will be calculated and paid, the time needed to develop regulations to resolve those issues, and the time employers will need both to implement plan changes and prepare to calculate (and perhaps allocate) the tax, we urge that regulations delay the effective date of the excise, tax,” Mercer L.L.C. wrote in a letter sent last week to the Internal Revenue Service.

At a minimum, Mercer said, the regulations should provide an “initial period when an employer's good-faith efforts to determine and allocate the cost of applicable coverage will avoid the” excise tax.

So far, the IRS has not indicated when it will issue proposed rules relating to the excise tax. However, in a notice earlier this year laying out “potential” approaches in its future regulations dealing with the excise tax, the IRS said employees' pretax contributions to health savings accounts would be included to determine if the total plan cost will trigger the excise tax, as well as whether a higher excise tax cost trigger should apply for health care plans covering employees in “high-risk” professions, such as law enforcement and firefighting.