We’ve talked a bunch about the Exchanges, or the place where you go to buy health insurance if you can’t, or choose not, to buy it from your employer. However, there are rules governing who is actually allowed to purchase insurance on these Exchanges. There are also guidelines for who can receive premium assistance, whose employer based insurance in unaffordable, and who is exempt from tax penalty if they don’t have insurance.
Most of these requirements were laid out in previous sections, but the next 6 sections, including this one, 1411, explicitly state that the Secretary of Health and Human Services has to come up with a program to assess the eligibility of people for these various items. So, yes, they said previously that you have to meet these requirements, and now they are saying that the government has to make sure they determine whether you meet these requirements. I suppose that is better than the alternatives – either saying you have to do something and then not caring if you do it, or worse, making requirements that you have no possible way to prove you meet. That last one sounds like something the Vogons would do.
So the Secretary of HHS has to make this program. Then what? You have to give them information, name, date of birth, SSN, etc. If you are claiming a tax credit because your employer doesn’t provide minimum coverage, then you have to include a lot of details about your employment status, and the cost of the coverage, and the cost-sharing. I hope there is a form. I’m sure there will be a form. J
The thing you really need to understand about the PPACA is that is references a lot of other sections of the PPACA and many other laws. For instance, if you wanted to claim an exemption from having to hold insurance, which is allowed in section 1311, subpart d, subsubpart 4, subsubsubpart H, in order to be exempt from the tax penalty as laid out in section 5000A of the tax code, then section 1411 tells you how to do that.
Just as aside, this is the first mention of WHO might be eligible for such an exemption. These include religious exemptions, people who are members of health care sharing ministries (oh, you’ve never heard of those – well – are you in for a treat! See the footnote.), Indian, or eligible for a hardship exemption.
There are then pages, and pages, and pages about exactly how the Secretary can develop this system, what happens if there are problems, liability for false information, confidentiality of information….and so on for six pages. We’ll assume that the Secretary has read them too.
Remember – there are 5 more sections about eligibility. We’ll finish those out this week.
Footnote: A Health Care Sharing Ministry is a group of people who pay money into the system, and then when they need health care services, they receive money from the pool, after meeting some basic level of out-of-pocket expense. They are typically not-for-profit. They are faith-based, being predominately Christian, and usually expect their members to live a “Christian lifestyle”. The members have no guarantee of payment. But they aren’t health insurance. No siree-Bob. Even though Washington State shut one such organization down, for not registering as an insurer.