Dear Editor:

Congress is considering a plan that would shatter the health insurance coverage system that has worked for half a century, in an effort to pay for a program that covers less than 10 percent of the population.

I am concerned with proposed changes to the Employer Health Premium Tax Exclusion, as a member of the New Jersey Association of Health Underwriters. Currently, premiums paid for employment-based health insurance are excluded from federal income and payroll taxes.

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For the next generation of proposed health care reform, the federal government needs the money to pay for subsidies and cost sharing reductions for about 10 percent of the population.

An example of what could happen:

Bella Catering has eight full-time W-2 employees. Each employee is covered as single and the annual premium is $12,000. With a tax exclusion capped at $8,000, the $4,000 overage is no longer tax deductible to the employer or tax free to the employee.

Why destroy what works for tens of millions of people to help a small fraction? The proposal would raise taxes on the middle class, encourage employers to reduce their premium contributions and force employees to move to an already unstable individual market with less choice and potentially higher out-of-pocket cost.

It is our hope Congress will forego this attempt to change what has worked for generations.

Chris Vanderwolk
Vice President, Strategy and Business Development
Gente Solutions