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THOMPSON, BLACK INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN BILL TO IMPROVE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, SIMPLIFY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR BUSINESSES

Jun 10, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA-05) and Diane Black (R-TN-06) today introduced H.R. 2712, the Commonsense Reporting and Verification Act of 2015. The legislation will provide workable options for employers to administer and offer health coverage to their employees by creating a voluntary prospective reporting system and streamlining the reporting process for businesses under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“While the health care law isn’t perfect, it was an important first step toward making quality, affordable health care a reality for all Americans. Now it’s time to work across the aisle to make commonsense improvements to the law, and that is exactly what this legislation will do,” said Thompson. “I’ve heard from employers of all sizes, who want to offer health care to their employees, about the challenges they face complying with the ACA’s administrative requirements. This bill would allow employers to maintain employer-sponsored health coverage, while reducing reporting burdens on businesses so they can focus on what they do best – creating jobs and growing our local economies. Our bill would also increase consumer protections by requiring that eligibility for subsidies be based on the most recent tax data.  This will increase accuracy and ensure that individuals and families aren’t hit with a large and unexpected tax bill at the end of the year.

“RILA applauds Representatives Black and Thompson for their leadership in introducing the Commonsense Reporting Act of 2015, which will to bring clarity to the health Exchange subsidy process and provide employers with relief under the ACA reporting requirements,” said Christine Pollack, vice president of government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Under the current reporting requirements established by the ACA, businesses are required to collect and annually report information about the coverage they offer to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and their employees. The information reporting is intended to verify compliance with the individual and employer mandates established by the ACA, and administer subsidies through the insurance exchanges. Additionally, employers and insurers are required to collect Social Security numbers of all covered individuals, including dependents, information that many do not currently collect. 

However, these reporting requirements have proven to be a challenging and inefficient way to gather the necessary information and administer subsidies. Thompson and Black’s legislation is designed to refine the information reporting process under the ACA, improve accuracy and minimize the risks of employees having to repay part or all of  premium tax credits or cost sharing subsidies in cases where exchanges made an incorrect eligibility determination. It also enhances privacy protections for individuals and families.

Specifically, the Commonsense Reporting and Verification Act of 2015 will:

  • Create a voluntary prospective reporting system: Permits employers to voluntarily report to the IRS general information about their health plan for the current year, helping increase the accuracy of eligibility determinations for exchange tax credits; state and federally-facilitated Exchanges will access information securely through the Data Services Hub
  • Streamline the reporting process: Eases reporting burdens for employers who use the voluntary prospective reporting system by requiring reporting statements only for those employees for whom the employer has received notification that the employee or their dependents enrolled in coverage on the Exchanges or received a subsidy rather than issuing reporting statements for the entire workforce
  • Protect privacy: Eliminates the requirement that employers and insurers collect dependents’ Social Security numbers
  • Modernize transmission of information to individuals: Allows for electronic transmission of employee and enrollee statements rather than requiring this information be provided only by paper statement sent through the mail
  • Establish oversight of reporting and tax credit verification: Requires a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study to provide insight into how availability of employer-sponsored insurance is being verified by state and federal Exchanges, and suggest improvements to the appeals and prospective reporting systems
  • Creates eligibility process for subsidies: Requires the exchanges to review the most recent tax filing for individuals who are automatically reenrolled in exchange coverage and adjust them accordingly.  

Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties.  He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.

 

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