Buried deep inside your health insurance plan in coming years could be a new, $63-per-head fee under Obamacare. The new regulation is apparently designed to cushion the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions under President Obama's health care overhaul.
The charge works out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, most of which is likely to be passed on to workers.
Based on figures provided in the regulation, employer and individual health plans covering an estimated 190 million Americans could owe the per-person fee.
The Obama administration says it is a temporary assessment levied for three years starting in 2014, designed to raise $25 billion.
The fee will be assessed on all "major medical" insurance plans, including those provided by employers and those purchased individually by consumers. Large employers will owe the fee directly. That's because major companies usually pay upfront for most of the health care costs of their employees. It may not be apparent to workers, but the insurance company they deal with is basically an agent administering the plan for their employer.
The fee will total $12 billion in 2014, $8 billion in 2015 and $5 billion in 2016. That means the per-head assessment would be smaller each year, around $40 in 2015 instead of $63.
It will phase out completely in 2017 -- unless Congress, with lawmakers searching everywhere for revenue to reduce federal deficits -- decides to extend the fees.