Senate bill aims to make it easier for Americans to qualify for coverage such as Medicaid, ACA subsidies

New legislation from Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, aims to make it easier for Americans to determine whether they qualify for income-based tax credits to lower Affordable Care Act coverage. (Getty/kroach)

A Democratic senator is aiming to get new legislation that aims to easily enroll eligible individuals into health insurance into a massive infrastructure bill currently being debated in the U.S. Capitol.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, introduced on Tuesday the Easy Enrollment in Health Care Act that seeks to enroll eligible Americans in minimum essential coverage via their tax returns.

The goal of the bill is to “make it easier for Americans to learn about and understand their options for low-cost and high coverage healthcare and most importantly how to enroll easily,” Van Hollen said during a press conference Tuesday on the legislation.

If enacted, the legislation would use federal income tax returns to help people sign up for minimum essential coverage.

An individual would be able to ask on their tax return to determine whether they are eligible for coverage under insurance affordability programs such as on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges. The individual can also give consent to sign up for minimum coverage at zero net premium if they are deemed eligible.

The information would be sent to the applicable ACA exchange that would determine whether the person were eligible for enrollment into minimum essential coverage or government programs such as Medicaid.

RELATED: Urban Institute: Making enhanced ACA subsidies permanent could extend coverage to nearly 1M

The legislation has support from some insurance groups including the Alliance for Community Health Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association along with government insurer Centene.

Van Hollen said the bill doesn’t expand coverage but instead aims to alert more Americans to options already available.

“Nearly 2 in 3 uninsured Americans are already eligible for programs like Medicaid, [the Children’s Health Insurance Program] and advanced premium tax credits,” he said.

Van Hollen said he is exploring trying to add the legislation into a massive infrastructure package being debated currently in Congress. The package is expected to include major healthcare coverage expansions including making permanent enhanced subsidies for ACA coverage and closing the Medicaid coverage gap.

“We do have a trimmed-down version of this that we think may be able to be passed as part of the reconciliation bill,” he said. “We are pursuing that right now with the Senate Finance Committee and others.”