U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown introduced a bill Friday that would permanently expand and extend the Health Coverage Tax Credit. Passage of the bill would extend the plan that helps buffer the health care costs for retirees who have lost their benefits and workers who have been displaced due to unfair trade practices.
Brown, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced the bill with U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). The HCTC helps trade-affected workers; select groups of retirees, like Delphi salaried retirees; and their families purchase private health coverage to replace the employer-sponsored coverage they lost. It currently makes health insurance coverage more affordable by providing a 72.5 percent tax credit to eligible workers. The bill would expand the tax credit to 80 percent
“While TAA and HCTC are no substitute for a job, this is a fair extension of health care tax credits for workers who lose their jobs to unfair trade practices and to retirees who lost their benefits due to no fault of their own,” Brown said. “The HCTC would ensure that the loss of their benefits doesn’t mean the loss of their health coverage.”
The HCTC is set to expire at the end of 2013. Brown’s bill, the Health Care Coverage for Displaced Works Act, would permanently extend the HCTC so that it no longer requires constant reauthorization and expand the HCTC to 80 percent, a nearly ten percent increase from the current rate.
Ryan recently introduced a similar bill in the House of Representatives that would continue HCTC for Delphi Retirees.