Tax Preferred Treatment

The current rules providing for the deductibility of employer costs associated with providing health care benefits to employees are essential to enabling the prevalence of employer-sponsored coverage. If there are significant changes to the tax treatment, it will contribute to a destabilization of the employer-based system as it exists today and lead more employers to consider other alternatives. In the Association's 2013 CHRO survey, 53 percent of large employers said a significant reduction or elimination of the tax preferred treatment of employer sponsored health care would motivate their company to consider a significantly different approach to health care. Much like the ACA excise tax on high-cost health plans that starts in 2018, altering the employer deduction for health coverage would significantly increase the cost of providing employer-sponsored health care and create another incentive for employers to stop providing coverage. Policymakers should be aware of the unintended consequences that may occur if they modify the tax treatment of employer provided care as part of any budget deal.