MA Expected to Propose Employer Health Care Tax

November 1, 2005 ( - This week, the Massachusetts House is expected to consider legislation that would impose a payroll tax on employers that do not provide health insurance to employees.

Business Insurance reports that Salvatore DiMasi (D) proposed the bill that would levy a 7% payroll tax on employers of 100 or more employees.   Employers with 11 to 99 employees would face a 5% tax, while employers with 10 or fewer employees would be exempt from the tax.

The amount employers currently spend on health insurance would offset the tax.   As Business Insurance notes, employers of 100 or more employees who spend more than 7% of payroll on health insurance already would incur no surcharge.

The measure is intended to raise hundreds of millions of dollars annually to expand eligibility for health insurance coverage through the state’s Medicaid program.   Small business groups, however, say the measure could have adverse consequences for the state’s business climate.

A similar lawpassed in 1987, that would have imposed a surcharge of $1,680 per employee on employers not offering health care coverage, was ultimately repealed.