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Lawmakers propose expanding insurance premium tax

CONCORD - A bill to broaden the base of the state's insurance premium tax to all entities that pay for Medicaid services is expected to be introduced in the 2014 session.The money raised by the 2 percent levy would be used to reduce the Medicaid Enhancement Tax that is assessed on net patient services at the state's 26 hospitals.The proposal from Sens. Chuck Morse, R-Salem, Bob Odell, R-Lempster, and Lou D'Allesandro, D-Manchester, and Rep. Norm Majors, R-Plaistow, came to light at the last meeting of the Medicaid Enhancement Tax Study Commission Wednesday.Private insurers and state, county and local governments would be subject to the tax along with the three private companies contracted to run the state's new managed-care Medicaid program beginning Dec. 1. Lawmakers have included the 2 percent premium tax in estimated revenues from the managed-care companies, but not from other private insurers who would cover Medicaid recipients if the state moves forward with Medicaid expansion, nor from state, county or local governments.The tax would be assessed on all companies and entities that are billed for Medicaid services.“It's a suggestion that needs to be debated,” Odell said. “This will be something we will try to put in a bill,” but he noted it is not likely to be during the special session scheduled for next month.

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