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48.14.020  <<  48.14.0201 >>   48.14.021

RCW 48.14.0201

Premiums and prepayments tax — Health care services — Exemptions — State preemption.

(1) As used in this section, "taxpayer" means a health maintenance organization as defined in RCW 48.46.020, a health care service contractor as defined in chapter 48.44 RCW, or a self-funded multiple employer welfare arrangement as defined in RCW 48.125.010.

     (2) Each taxpayer must pay a tax on or before the first day of March of each year to the state treasurer through the insurance commissioner's office. The tax must be equal to the total amount of all premiums and prepayments for health care services collected or received by the taxpayer under RCW 48.14.090 during the preceding calendar year multiplied by the rate of two percent. For tax purposes, the reporting of premiums and prepayments must be on a written basis or on a paid-for basis consistent with the basis required by the annual statement.

     (3) Taxpayers must prepay their tax obligations under this section. The minimum amount of the prepayments is the percentages of the taxpayer's tax obligation for the preceding calendar year recomputed using the rate in effect for the current year. For the prepayment of taxes due during the first calendar year, the minimum amount of the prepayments is the percentages of the taxpayer's tax obligation that would have been due had the tax been in effect during the previous calendar year. The tax prepayments must be paid to the state treasurer through the commissioner's office by the due dates and in the following amounts:

     (a) On or before June 15, forty-five percent;

     (b) On or before September 15, twenty-five percent;

     (c) On or before December 15, twenty-five percent.

     (4) For good cause demonstrated in writing, the commissioner may approve an amount smaller than the preceding calendar year's tax obligation as recomputed for calculating the health maintenance organization's, health care service contractor's, self-funded multiple employer welfare arrangement's, or certified health plan's prepayment obligations for the current tax year.

     (5)(a) Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, moneys collected under this section are deposited in the general fund.

     (b) Beginning January 1, 2014, moneys collected from taxpayers for premiums written on qualified health benefit plans and stand-alone dental plans offered through the health benefit exchange under chapter 43.71 RCW must be deposited in the health benefit exchange account under RCW 43.71.060.

     (6) The taxes imposed in this section do not apply to:

     (a) Amounts received by any taxpayer from the United States or any instrumentality thereof as prepayments for health care services provided under Title XVIII (medicare) of the federal social security act.

     (b) Amounts received by any taxpayer from the state of Washington as prepayments for health care services provided under:

     (i) The medical care services program as provided in RCW 74.09.035; or

     (ii) The Washington basic health plan on behalf of subsidized enrollees as provided in chapter 70.47 RCW.

     (c) Amounts received by any health care service contractor as defined in chapter 48.44 RCW, or any health maintenance organization as defined in chapter 48.46 RCW, as prepayments for health care services included within the definition of practice of dentistry under RCW 18.32.020, except amounts received for pediatric oral services that qualify as coverage for the minimum essential coverage requirement under P.L. 111-148 (2010), as amended.

     (d) Participant contributions to self-funded multiple employer welfare arrangements that are not taxable in this state.

     (7) Beginning January 1, 2000, the state preempts the field of imposing excise or privilege taxes upon taxpayers and no county, city, town, or other municipal subdivision has the right to impose any such taxes upon such taxpayers. This subsection is limited to premiums and payments for health benefit plans offered by health care service contractors under chapter 48.44 RCW, health maintenance organizations under chapter 48.46 RCW, and self-funded multiple employer welfare arrangements as defined in RCW 48.125.010. The preemption authorized by this subsection must not impair the ability of a county, city, town, or other municipal subdivision to impose excise or privilege taxes upon the health care services directly delivered by the employees of a health maintenance organization under chapter 48.46 RCW.

     (8)(a) The taxes imposed by this section apply to a self-funded multiple employer welfare arrangement only in the event that they are not preempted by the employee retirement income security act of 1974, as amended, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 1001 et seq. The arrangements and the commissioner must initially request an advisory opinion from the United States department of labor or obtain a declaratory ruling from a federal court on the legality of imposing state premium taxes on these arrangements. Once the legality of the taxes has been determined, the multiple employer welfare arrangement certified by the insurance commissioner must begin payment of these taxes.

     (b) If there has not been a final determination of the legality of these taxes, then beginning on the earlier of (i) the date the fourth multiple employer welfare arrangement has been certified by the insurance commissioner, or (ii) April 1, 2006, the arrangement must deposit the taxes imposed by this section into an interest bearing escrow account maintained by the arrangement. Upon a final determination that the taxes are not preempted by the employee retirement income security act of 1974, as amended, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 1001 et seq., all funds in the interest bearing escrow account must be transferred to the state treasurer.

     (9) The effect of transferring contracts for health care services from one taxpayer to another taxpayer is to transfer the tax prepayment obligation with respect to the contracts.

     (10) On or before June 1st of each year, the commissioner must notify each taxpayer required to make prepayments in that year of the amount of each prepayment and must provide remittance forms to be used by the taxpayer. However, a taxpayer's responsibility to make prepayments is not affected by failure of the commissioner to send, or the taxpayer to receive, the notice or forms.

[2013 2nd sp.s. c 6 § 5; 2013 c 325 § 3; 2011 c 47 § 8; 2009 c 479 § 41. Prior: 2005 c 405 § 1; 2005 c 223 § 6; 2005 c 7 § 1; 2004 c 260 § 24; 1998 c 323 § 1; 1997 c 154 § 1; 1993 sp.s. c 25 § 601; 1993 c 492 § 301.]

Notes:

     Effective date -- 2009 c 479: See note following RCW 2.56.030.

     Effective date -- 2005 c 7: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [March 15, 2005]." [2005 c 7 § 3.]

     Severability -- Effective date -- 2004 c 260: See RCW 48.125.900 and 48.125.901.

     Effective date -- 1997 c 154: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect July 1, 1997." [1997 c 154 § 2.]

     Severability -- Effective dates -- Part headings, captions not law -- 1993 sp.s. c 25: See notes following RCW 82.04.230.

     Findings -- Intent -- 1993 c 492: See notes following RCW 43.20.050.

     Short title -- Severability -- Savings -- Captions not law -- Reservation of legislative power -- Effective dates -- 1993 c 492: See RCW 43.72.910 through 43.72.915.