WASHINGTON, June 5 -- America's Health Insurance Plans issued the following news release:

Over the past few months, several members of South Carolina's congressional delegation have signed on as co-sponsors to legislation repealing a new $100 billion health insurance tax that was included in the health reform law. The health insurance tax will increase the cost of health care coverage for South Carolina consumers and employers by more than $1 billion over the next ten years.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes a new sales tax on health insurance that starts at $8 billion in 2014, increases to $14.3 billion in 2018, and will increase based on premium trend thereafter. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the health insurance tax will exceed $100 billion over the next ten years.

"Taxing health insurance makes it more expensive, and that is the opposite of what health care reform was supposed to accomplish," said AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni.

According to a report from the actuarial firm Oliver Wyman, "Annual Tax on Insurers Allocated by State," South Carolina consumers and employers will pay more than $1 billion more over the next ten years as a result of this tax. On average, this tax will increase premiums in South Carolina over a ten-year period by $2,124 for individuals purchasing coverage on their own and by $6,870 for families who get their coverage from a small employer. This tax also will increase costs for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries by $3,384 and will increase the average cost of Medicaid coverage by about $1,425 per enrollee over ten years.

Representatives Charles Boustany (LA) and Jim Matheson (UT) introduced the Jobs and Premium Protection Act (H.R. 763), bipartisan legislation to repeal the health insurance tax. Senators John Barrasso (WY) and Orrin Hatch (UT) introduced a Senate version of this bill (S.603). The following members of the South Carolina delegation are supporting legislation to repeal the health insurance tax: Sen. Tim Scott,  Rep. Jeff Duncan, Rep. Trey Gowdy, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Rep. Tom Rice, and Rep. Joe Wilson.

AHIP recently submitted comments to the House Ways and Means Committee Work Groups urging repeal of the ACA's health insurance tax as part of a comprehensive tax reform package. AHIP is also raising the awareness of the health insurance tax repeal effort on Twitter using the hashtag #repealthetax.

To learn more about the impact the health insurance tax will have on the affordability of health care coverage, visit www.AHIP.org/Affordability.