CFAHU Legislative Report
Web Broker Wins – Your HUPAC dollars at work
It’s nice to win one once in a while. With HHS’s release of the final rule on Program Integrity: Exchanges, SHOP, Eligibility Appeals last Wednesday, NAHU’s Legislative Council, Exchange Coordinator Working Group and General Agents Advisory Group scored a huge policy victory.The net impact of the bill as written would be to reduce the deficit by about $5 billion, depending on tax interactions. A vote of the full House is expected as early as this coming Thursday and the measure is expected to pass. However, it seems unlikely that the Senate will take up the measure at this time.
As soon as our Legislative Council, Exchange Coordinators Working Group and General Agents Advisory Group learned of the proposed rule, the groups sprung into action. The fear was that, if the requirements were allowed to stand, they would cause millions of missed enrollment opportunities for consumers by severely hampering the ability of independent agents and brokers to access and market exchange-based individual coverage in federally facilitated and partnership exchange states via web-based entities. Our working groups drafted a formal comment letter for NAHU to send to HHS which included a reasonable way to resolve any exchange security issues but still preserve independent broker access to web-based entities. We also provided talking points to large healthcare-technology companies and general agencies so that they could submit their own comment letters on the issue. Plus, NAHU lobbyists spoke to HHS officials directly about the problem and arranged a large in-person meeting with the technology companies and general agency leaders and the HHS Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) Gary Cohen. To review the rules
The Administration has certainly been busy. On Wednesday, the Department of Labor issued new FAQs that address the Fair Labor Standards Act exchange notice that many employers must provide to their employees. Then yesterday, the Department of Treasury issued proposed rules on the employer reporting requirements relative to enforcement of both the individual and employer mandates.
The DOL FAQs allows for other entities that may insure employees to provide employees with their FLSA notice (such as a multiemployer plan) but establishes that it is the employer’s obligation to ensure the notice is ultimately provided to all employees, not just plan participants. The 90-day waiting period information establishes that employers can rely on previously issued waiting period guidance through 2014.
New Guidance on the DOMA Ruling
However, last week, the IRS issued new guidance that broadly defines the term “spouse” for federal tax purposes to include all same-sex marriages that were performed in a domestic or foreign jurisdiction having the legal authority to sanction marriages – the “place of celebration” principle – without regard to the state law where the spouse is domiciled. This means that, for the tax-treatment of employee benefits, if a same-sex couple was legally married anywhere, their employer cannot include the cost of their spouse’s coverage in the employee’s gross income.
Part II of FFM Agent and Broker Training Released
By now, most of you planning to sell on the Federally Facilitated Marketplaces have started or already completed Part I of the FFM agent and broker training, released just over a month ago. Late last week, while many of us were packing up our beach bags and heading out of town for the three-day weekend, CMS released Part II of the FFM agent and broker training. Part II is the identity verification component of the training and will take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. CMS has also put together this surprisingly helpful step-by-step registration webinar Part II registration tips begin on slide 32.
In order to complete the second part of the training, you will need to have first successfully completed Part I of the FFM training, as well as create a new account on the secure CMS portal. Once your account is successfully created, you can login and complete the training. Remember, Part II is only required for those agents and brokers who wish to sell on the individual federally facilitated marketplaces! Please note that we have been told that, due to the high traffic flow to the training, CMS is experiencing some technical difficulties. If you’re having trouble logging onto the secure CMS portal, just sit tight — CMS is working to resolve these issues.
Surprise, this survey says ACA is not real popular, The Morning Consult reports