Exchanges not required to verify consumers' income, insurance status

The Obama administration issued another delay related to the healthcare reform law, this time postponing for a year the requirement that health insurance exchanges verify consumers' income and health insurance status. In a rule released Friday, the federal government said exchanges can instead rely on consumers' self-reported information to determine whether they're eligible for premium subsidies after it experienced "legislative and operational barriers," The Washington Post reported. "The exchange may accept the applicant's attestation regarding enrollment in eligible employer-sponsored plan ... without further verification," the final rule says.

Although many industry analysts questioned the move, particularly since it comes only a few days after the delay of the employer mandate, it's not without precedent. "An awful lot of the economy is a cash economy," Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University in Virginia told the Post. "If we had to verify every statement that was made to the IRS, our economy would collapse." Plus, consumers who lie on their exchange applications could be fined by as much as $25,000. Article

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