Insurance subsidies may be too high or low for some who got coverage

More than a million Americans listed incomes on their health insurance applications that differ significantly from those on file with the Internal Revenue Service and therefore may be getting subsidies that are too high or low, The Washington Post says. Other media outlets report that states can decide whether to carry out a key part of the health law's small business exchanges for 2015 and that civil fines of up to $250,000 may be imposed on those who knowingly provide false information to get a subsidy.

The Washington Post: Federal Health-Care Subsidies May Be Too High Or Too Low For More Than 1 Million Americans
The government may be paying incorrect subsidies to more than 1 million Americans for their health plans in the new federal insurance marketplace and has been unable so far to fix the errors, according to internal documents and three people familiar with the situation. The problem means that potentially hundreds of thousands of people are receiving bigger subsidies than they deserve. They are part of a large group of Americans who listed incomes on their insurance applications that differ significantly -; either too low or too high -; from those on file with the Internal Revenue Service, documents show (Goldstein and Somashekhar, 5/16).

The Wall Street Journal: States To Decide On Key Part Of Small-Business Health Exchanges
The Obama administration said Friday it would let states decide whether to implement a key part of the health law's small-business exchanges next year, extending an earlier delay. The Department of Health and Human Services said in rules released Friday that it would be up to state insurance commissioners to decide whether employees at small businesses using the health-insurance exchanges could choose from a range of plans or be limited to just one selected by their employer (Radnofsky, 5/16).

The Associated Press: $250K Fine For Lying On Health Insurance Forms
Lying to the federal health insurance man could cost you dearly. The Obama administration Friday spelled out civil fines of up to $250,000 for knowingly and willfully providing false information to get taxpayer-subsidized coverage under the new health care law (5/16).

The Hill:  HHS Opens Door To Extra Funds For Insurers
Health insurance companies can count on funds from the government if ObamaCare's risk corridor program does not sufficiently cover losses that are higher than expected this year.  This news was published in regulations Friday outlining how the law's health insurance exchanges will operate in 2015 (Viebeck, 5/16).

The Fiscal Times: Senators on Botched Obamacare Websites: You Break It, You Bought It
Republican senators are demanding answers from the Obama administration on the handful of failed state exchange websites that have cost taxpayers literally billions of dollars. Some even say that the states should reimburse the government for the cost of these exchange failures. So far, at least four largely inoperable state websites – in Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada and Oregon – have cost the federal government $4 billion. That number is expected to rise as the states spend more money to replace or rebuild the bad sites (Ehley, 5/16).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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