We are in the very depths of summer and should all be at the beach. But with the exchanges set to open their doors in less than nine weeks time, there is little rest for federal and state agency staff charged with opening those doors. After three years of hard work, the regulatory infrastructure needed to set the exchanges in motion is mostly in place. HHS still has its final program integrity rule to publish, Treasury must finalize its individual and employer responsibility regulations (although the employer regulation is now less urgent), and there are an infinite number of technical details to nail down.
But regulatory drafting is nearly done, and with Congress leaving shortly for its August recess — and thus a seemingly endless series of repetitive and often pointless oversight hearings coming finally to an end — agency staff can turn their attention to finishing putting the Affordable Care Act 2014 reforms in place.
Income verification. There is some information, however, to report this week. First, at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee on August 1, 2013, Gary Cohen, Director of the HHS Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, stated that a guidance would be issued shortly that would require physical verification of income for premium tax credit applications if income could not be verified through available electronic data sources. This blog post will be updated once this guidance becomes available.
Discrimination. Second, on July 31, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights put out a Request for Information regarding Nondiscrimination in Certain Health Care Programs. Section 1557 of the ACA prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability by any program or activity established by or funded under the ACA. HHS seeks information to inform its rulemaking under this provision.
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