UnitedHealth Group concerned about health insurance tax

By Leia Klingel Financials FOXBusiness

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UnitedHealth Group (UNH) is concerned about the potential impacts from the possible implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance Tax in 2018, and the company will continue to lobby against the tax.

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The ACA’s Health Insurance Tax could come into effect in 2018. Insurers have long lobbied for the tax to be repealed, resulting in a one-year delay passed by Congress at the end of 2015. A report funded by UnitedHealth Group found that the tax would increase 2018 healthcare costs by $158 per person on the individual market, and by $245 for Medicare Advantage participants.

When discussing their latest quarterly results on Tuesday, UnitedHealth Group executives reiterated their concerns about the tax, saying it would drive up health care costs. UnitedHealth Group is actively advocating the repeal of the tax, however, if it is reinstated, the company is expecting earnings headwinds of $0.75 per share in 2018.

When it comes to health care, the attention on Washington heightened last week when the White House announced that it would stop issuing payments for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to health insurers.

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On the conference call discussing its quarterly results, UnitedHealth Group executives said that the company is engaging with policy makers about the regulatory changes coming that will impact health care insurers. But, when it comes to the recently noted changes to CSR, the company expects a limited impact. This is because the company has a very limited involvement, with only about 30,000 customers using CSRs. UnitedHealth Group has submitted plans for 2018 with and without the CSR, but either way they expect the impact to be “really small.”

UnitedHealth Group had third quarter adjusted net earnings of $2.6 billion, or $2.66 a share. Revenue rose 8.7% to $50.3 billion, but consolidated revenue declined by $1.6 billion dollars

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