Repeal of the Affordable Care Act Taxes

Affordable Care Act Cadillac Tax Repeal

The government funding bill passed in late December 2019, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, repeals three Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes: the Cadillac tax, medical device tax and health insurer tax.


Cadillac Tax

The Cadillac tax, one of the most unpopular provisions of ACA, was originally effective for taxable years beginning after 2017. However, Congress kept extending the effective date.  The latest extension imposed the excise tax starting in tax year 2022 and thereafter.  The tax would have imposed a 40% excise tax on “high value” health coverage in excess of certain thresholds.  The initial threshold limits were $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families in 2018, adjusted with cost of living.  The intent of the ACA excise tax was to tax health coverage that is very rich in benefits. However, many employers who sponsor standard health plans would have been affected because of the cost of insurance in certain geographical locations and the types of benefits that were included in determining the value of benefits, e.g., contributions to Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts (HFSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

Most legislators across all political parties were opposed to the Cadillac tax. Due to its unpopularity, there was overwhelming bipartisan support for repealing this tax.

Medical Device Tax

The ACA imposed an excise tax on the sale of certain medical devices by the manufacturer or importer of the device.  The tax was equal to 2.3% on U.S. medical device revenues.  This tax was in effect 2013 – 2015 and was suspended between 2016 – 2019.  This tax is fully repealed effective December 31, 2019.

Health Insurer Tax

The ACA also imposed a fee charged to insurance companies to help pay for the law.  The annual fee is required to be paid for calendar years after 2013.  Because the fee adversely impacted health insurance premiums in general, Congress suspended the fee for 2017 and 2019 but the fee applies to 2018 and 2020.  The funding bill passed in late December 2019 fully repeals the fee effective in 2021.

Please join us on Thursday, May 14, 2020 for our Health & Welfare Legislative and Regulatory Update web seminar to review these and other changes in more detail. Register here.

Other Changes in the Funding Bill

Included in the funding bill was a comprehensive retirement bill, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act). Please join us on February 27, 2020, for our Retirement Legislative and Regulatory Update web seminar to learn about the SECURE Act and more. Register here.