Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rules published last month and in March finalize key changes to the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) transitional reinsurance program and the amount that certain employers and other contributing entities must pay per covered life for the 2015 year. Starting this year (and in 2015 and 2016), contributing entities must report the number of covered lives in a plan by Nov. 15, with initial payments likely due in the beginning of 2015. HHS is expected to roll out the administrative process for reporting covered lives totals and making payments in the coming weeks.
The March guidance also sets the 2015 parameters for the ACA’s cost-sharing limits (out-of-pocket maximums) and makes changes to a long list of issues involving the individual and small-group markets (including public exchanges).
This week, newly confirmed Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell is to set to be sworn in. The former Office of Management and Budget director was approved by the Senate Thursday on a 78-17 vote, with 24 Republicans supporting her nomination. Her confirmation was an unusually smooth process, with most Republicans declining to turn the vote into a fight over the health care law.
The House Ways and Means Committee plans to hold a hearing Tuesday that will focus on the law’s employer reporting requirements, the government's ability to verify income and insurance information, and the potential effect of these challenges on the 2015 tax-filing season.