Obamacare honor system: Admin will take enrollees’ word on income, insurance status

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The Obama administration quietly announced Friday that it is rolling back the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that the new insurance exchanges verify applicants’ income and insurance status, according to news reports.

The decision — which came in a 606-page final rule released by Health and Human Services the Friday following Independence Day — to allow enrollees to self-report information with limited verification, came the same week the administration announced it will delay for one year the requirement that businesses with 50 or more employees provide health insurance.

Prior to the Friday revelation, first reported by The Washington Post, the exchanges would have had to verify the income of each enrollee and conduct random checks on applicant insurance coverage.

Until 2015, “The exchange may accept the applicant’s attestation regarding enrollment in eligible employer-sponsored plan . . . without further verification,” the paper quotes the final rule.

The exchanges — operated by the federal government in 34 states — will still conduct random checks on applicant insurance coverage, CNBC reports.

“[T]he exchange may accept the attestation of projected annual household income without further verification,” The Post quotes the rule.

The exchanges will, however, conduct some checks on a sample of enrollees whose reported income is much less than what federal records show, according to The Post.

Individuals caught lying about their personal information could face a penalty of up to $25,000 and have to pay back the subsidies on their next filing.

The exchanges are scheduled to begin open enrollment on Oct. 1. In order to receive subsidized insurance coverage, those enrolling in the exchanges must be earning 400 percent or less of the poverty line and not be receiving specified levels of coverage through their employer.

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