Jaime Herrera Beutler applauds Premera’s announcement that federal tax cuts will lead to better, more stable rural health care

 Thanks to tax cut legislation, Premera guarantees no one in Washington state will be left without a health insurance choice in 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler applauded today’s announcement by health insurer Premera that, as a direct result of the federal tax cuts that were signed into law in December of 2017, it is investing $200 million to improve health care in Washington, and that no one in the state will be without health insurance options in 2019.

“In addition to bigger paychecks and employee bonuses benefiting nearly 90% of Southwest Washington residents, another advantage of the tax cuts Congress passed is that rural residents won’t be left without health care options next year thanks to Premera’s announcement today. Multiple counties in the region I represent were told there would be no affordable health care options last year, so this is welcome and potentially life-saving news and it’s also why I voted to let individuals and communities keep more of their money,” Jaime said.

 

Premera credited the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act directly for these actions, with President and CEO Jeff Roe stating that the reduction of the corporate tax rate to 21% has given the company a refund, resulting in “an unexpected opportunity to reach beyond our own company to further address the critical health care needs of the communities where we live and work.”

According to its press release, Premera said it will focus its customer and community investments to address three key areas:

  • Customers and market stability:
    • The tax savings are expected to trigger premium rebates for individuals and small group customers;
    • Premera also expects to return nearly $10 million in taxes charged to large group customers in 2018;
    • Premera guarantees every county in Washington will have at least one health insurance option.

  • Improved access to health care in rural areas:
    • The company announced initiatives to attract and support health care providers in rural areas as well as offering enhanced telemedicine and tele-psychiatry programs.

  • Behavioral health:
    • Premera says its commitment also includes nearly $40 million over five years to support efforts across Washington and Alaska to address a variety of behavioral health issues such as addiction and adverse childhood experiences.