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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield In Missouri Urges Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill and Christopher S. Bond to Not Support the Current Senate Health Care Reform Legislation

December 20, 2009

New Manager’s amendment holds tax burdens that will raise Missouri premiums and subsidize other states

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Yesterday, Senator Reid released his Manager’s amendment to the health care reform legislation currently being discussed in the U.S. Senate. One provision in the amendment involved the $6.7 billion annual tax that will be levied on the health insurance industry. As the Congressional Budget Office has stated, this tax will get passed on to consumers through higher premiums. In his amendment, Senator Reid put forth that non-profit health insurance companies will be exempt from this tax–in essence leaving for-profit plans, and their members, to shoulder the entire tax burden.

What does this mean to the more than 3 million Missourians that have health insurance provided by for-profit companies?

It means that our state will be burdened by a disproportionate share of the $6.7 billion tax. This increase will directly impact Missouri’s insured population and will cause premium amounts to increase even more under this legislation. Because a greater percentage of Missourians (about 83 percent) are insured by for-profit companies than the national average, Missouri taxpayers will be forced to subsidize other states that have lower enrollments in for-profit health insurers.

Any proposal to tax only for-profit health plans will further exacerbate the unlevel playing field for not-for-profit plans, without improving access to health benefits coverage or enhanced health services. While some plans are not-for-profit, that does not mean they are not “profitable.” Insurers are required to generate a “net income” in order to help ensure they can pay future claims by members. Not-for-profit simply reflects a tax status under the Internal Revenue Service Code. In many states, the net income on a per-member, per-month (PMPM) basis for not-for-profit health plans is actually higher than that of the for-profit health plans.

Over time, un-equal taxation will lead to the erosion and potential insolvency of for-profit plans, as a progressively smaller share of the overall market would bear the burden of sustaining the entire amount of the tax. Ultimately, the government would receive no revenue from the tax when there are no for-profit entities remaining subject to the tax.

We urge Senators Claire McCaskill and Christopher S. Bond not to support a bill that further increases the amount Missouri residents pay for health care premiums, while at the same time subsidizing other states.

Dennis Matheis

President

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri

In Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area) Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name for RightCHOICE® Managed Care, Inc. (RIT), Healthy Alliance® Life Insurance Company (HALIC), and HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates administer non-HMO benefits underwritten by HALIC and HMO benefits underwritten by HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates only provide administrative services for self-funded plans and do not underwrite benefits. Independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri is available at www.anthem.com.

SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri


Source: newswire



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