Some Floridians may face expensive health care taxes

Miami HeraldNovember 13, 2009 

A key provision in the main Senate healthcare reform bill could cause many South Floridians to pay taxes on their employer-based insurance on the theory that they're expensive ``Cadillac'' plans.

A family that has an insurance plan valued at $27,000, for example, would pay $2,400 in taxes under the present version of the Senate Finance Committee bill.

The bill creates a 40 percent tax on healthcare benefits valued at more than $8,000 annually for an individual, $21,000 for a family. That measure includes employer and employee contributions, plus the amounts in health and flexible savings accounts.

Santiago Leon, a Miami insurance broker, says that in South Florida ``we have on the market today a surprising number of plans that would hit the `Cadillac' ceiling.''

About a third of the 11,000 employees of Baptist Health South Florida have a plan valued at more than $17,000 a year. Considering that health costs are rising far faster than inflation, it's possible those figures could be above the threshold of $21,000 in 2013, when the provision would be scheduled to take effect.

Meanwhile, Milliman, a national consulting firm, released a study earlier this year that an average employer-based, preferred provider organization plan for a family of four in the Miami area cost $20,282 in 2008.

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