HHS makes it easier to receive exchange subsidies

Sara Hansard of Bloomberg News reports on an interesting tidbit for #OE4:

Getting subsidies for Affordable Care Act health plans is about to become easier.

Additional verification of eligibility will only be required if the difference between stated income and Internal Revenue Service or Social Security data is at least 25 percent, or $6,000, underguidance from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Currently, additional verification is required if the discrepancy is only 10 percent or greater.

The change, which is for the 2017 plan year, “will reduce the number of consumers who have to follow-up and submit documentation to verify their household income while maintaining important program integrity controls,” the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in the guidance.

I'm actually not entirely sure how this changes anything, since you're only estimating your projected income when you enroll for the upcoming year; you still have to reconcile your actual income later on, and pay back the difference if your income is higher than you had projected. This is particularly true for people who are self-employed with highly-variable incomes...such as myself.

Still, as long as people get it through their heads that they might have to pay some or all of their subsidies back at taxtime if they're off by a considerable amount, this seems reasonable to me.