45 CFR 155.320 - Verification process related to eligibility for insurance affordability programs.

§ 155.320 Verification process related to eligibility for insurance affordability programs.

(a)General requirements.

(1) The Exchange must verify information in accordance with this section only for an applicant or tax filer who requested an eligibility determination for insurance affordability programs in accordance with § 155.310(b).

(2) Unless a request for modification is granted in accordance with § 155.315(h), the Exchange must verify or obtain information in accordance with this section before making an eligibility determination for insurance affordability programs, and must use such information in such determination.

(b)Verification of eligibility for minimum essential coverage other than through an eligible employer-sponsored plan. (1)(i) The Exchange must verify whether an applicant is eligible for minimum essential coverage other than through an eligible employer-sponsored plan, Medicaid, CHIP, or the BHP, using information obtained by transmitting identifying information specified by HHS to HHS for verification purposes.

(ii) The Exchange must verify whether an applicant has already been determined eligible for coverage through Medicaid, CHIP, or the BHP, if a BHP is operating in the service area of the Exchange, within the State or States in which the Exchange operates using information obtained from the agencies administering such programs.

(2) Consistent with § 164.512(k)(6)(i) of this subchapter, the disclosure to HHS of information regarding eligibility for and enrollment in a health plan, which may be considered protected health information, as that term is defined in § 160.103 of this subchapter, is expressly authorized, for the purposes of verification of applicant eligibility for minimum essential coverage as part of the eligibility determination process for advance payments of the premium tax credit or cost-sharing reductions.

(c)Verification of household income and family/household size -

(1)Data -

(i)Data regarding annual household income. (A) For all individuals whose income is counted in calculating a tax filer's household income, as defined in 26 CFR 1.36B-1(e), or an applicant's household income, calculated in accordance with 42 CFR 435.603(d), and for whom the Exchange has a Social Security number, the Exchange must request tax return data regarding MAGI and family size from the Secretary of the Treasury and data regarding Social security benefits described in 26 CFR 1.36B-1(e)(2)(iii) from the Commissioner of Social Security by transmitting identifying information specified by HHS to HHS.

(B) If the identifying information for one or more individuals does not match a tax record on file with the Secretary of the Treasury that may be disclosed in accordance with section 6103(l)(21) of the Code and its accompanying regulations, the Exchange must proceed in accordance with § 155.315(f)(1).

(ii)Data regarding MAGI-based income. For all individuals whose income is counted in calculating a tax filer's household income, as defined in 26 CFR 1.36B-1(e), or an applicant's household income, calculated in accordance with 42 CFR 435.603(d), the Exchange must request data regarding MAGI-based income in accordance with 42 CFR 435.948(a).

(2)Verification process for Medicaid and CHIP -

(i)Household size.

(A) The Exchange must verify household size in accordance with 42 CFR 435.945(a) or through other reasonable verification procedures consistent with the requirements in 42 CFR 435.952.

(B) The Exchange must verify the information in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A) of this section by accepting an applicant's attestation without further verification, unless the Exchange finds that an applicant's attestation to the individuals that comprise his or her household for Medicaid and CHIP is not reasonably compatible with other information provided by the application filer for the applicant or in the records of the Exchange, in which case the Exchange must utilize data obtained through electronic data sources to verify the attestation. If such data sources are unavailable or information in such data sources is not reasonably compatible with the applicant's attestation, the Exchange must request additional documentation to support the attestation within the procedures specified in 42 CFR 435.952.

(ii)Verification process for MAGI-based household income. The Exchange must verify MAGI-based income, within the meaning of 42 CFR 435.603(d), for the household described in paragraph (c)(2)(i) in accordance with the procedures specified in Medicaid regulations 42 CFR 435.945, 42 CFR 435.948, and 42 CFR 435.952 and CHIP regulations at 42 CFR 457.380.

(3)Verification process for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions -

(i)Family size.

(A) The Exchange must require an applicant to attest to the individuals that comprise a tax filer's family for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions.

(B) To the extent that the applicant attests that the information described in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section represents an accurate projection of a tax filer's family size for the benefit year for which coverage is requested, the Exchange must determine the tax filer's eligibility for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions based on the family size data in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section.

(C) To the extent that the data described in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section is unavailable, or an applicant attests that a change in circumstances has occurred or is reasonably expected to occur, and so it does not represent an accurate projection of a tax filer's family size for the benefit year for which coverage is requested, the Exchange must verify the tax filer's family size for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions by accepting an applicant's attestation without further verification, except as specified in paragraph (c)(3)(i)(D) of this section.

(D) If the Exchange finds that an applicant's attestation of a tax filer's family size is not reasonably compatible with other information provided by the application filer for the family or in the records of the Exchange, with the exception of the data described in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section, the Exchange must utilize data obtained through other electronic data sources to verify the attestation. If such data sources are unavailable or information in such data sources is not reasonably compatible with the applicant's attestation, the Exchange must request additional documentation to support the attestation within the procedures specified in § 155.315(f).

(E) The Exchange must verify that neither advance payments of the premium tax credit nor cost-sharing reductions are being provided on behalf of an individual using information obtained by transmitting identifying information specified by HHS to HHS.

(ii)Basic verification process for annual household income.

(A) The Exchange must compute annual household income for the family described in paragraph (c)(3)(i)(A) of this section based on the data described in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section;

(B) The Exchange must require the applicant to attest regarding a tax filer's projected annual household income;

(C) To the extent that the applicant's attestation indicates that the information described in paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section represents an accurate projection of the tax filer's household income for the benefit year for which coverage is requested, the Exchange must determine the tax filer's eligibility for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions based on the household income data in paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section.

(D) To the extent that the data described in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section is unavailable, or an applicant attests that a change in circumstances has occurred or is reasonably expected to occur, and so it does not represent an accurate projection of the tax filer's household income for the benefit year for which coverage is requested, the Exchange must require the applicant to attest to the tax filer's projected household income for the benefit year for which coverage is requested.

(iii)Verification process for increases in household income.

(A) Except as specified in paragraph (c)(3)(iii)(B) and (C) of this section, if an applicant's attestation, in accordance with paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(B) of this section, indicates that a tax filer's annual household income has increased or is reasonably expected to increase from the data described in paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section for the benefit year for which the applicant(s) in the tax filer's family are requesting coverage and the Exchange has not verified the applicant's MAGI-based income through the process specified in paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section to be within the applicable Medicaid or CHIP MAGI-based income standard, the Exchange must accept the applicant's attestation regarding a tax filer's annual household income without further verification.

(B) If data available to the Exchange in accordance with paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section indicate that a tax filer's projected annual household income is in excess of his or her attestation by a significant amount, the Exchange must proceed in accordance with § 155.315(f)(1) through (4).

(C) If other information provided by the application filer indicates that a tax filer's projected annual household income is in excess of his or her attestation by a significant amount, the Exchange must utilize data available to the Exchange in accordance with paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section to verify the attestation. If such data is unavailable or are not reasonably compatible with the applicant's attestation, the Exchange must proceed in accordance with § 155.315(f)(1) through (4).

(iv)Eligibility for alternate verification process for decreases in annual household income and situations in which tax return data is unavailable. The Exchange must determine a tax filer's annual household income for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions based on the alternate verification procedures described in paragraph (c)(3)(v) of this section, if an applicant attests to projected annual household income in accordance with paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(B) of this section, the tax filer does not meet the criteria specified in paragraph (c)(3)(iii) of this section, the applicants in the tax filer's family have not established MAGI-based income through the process specified in paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section that is within the applicable Medicaid or CHIP MAGI-based income standard, and one of the following conditions is met -

(A) The Secretary of the Treasury does not have tax return data that may be disclosed under section 6103(l)(21) of the Code for the tax filer that is at least as recent as the calendar year two years prior to the calendar year for which advance payments of the premium tax credit or cost-sharing reductions would be effective;

(B) The applicant attests that the tax filer's applicable family size has changed or is reasonably expected to change for the benefit year for which the applicants in his or her family are requesting coverage, or the members of the tax filer's family have changed or are reasonably expected to change for the benefit year for which the applicants in his or her family are requesting coverage;

(C) The applicant attests that a change in circumstances has occurred or is reasonably expected to occur, and so the tax filer's annual household income has decreased or is reasonably expected to decrease from the data described in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section for the benefit year for which the applicants in his or her family are requesting coverage;

(D) The applicant attests that the tax filer's filing status has changed or is reasonably expected to change for the benefit year for which the applicants in his or her family are requesting coverage; or

(E) An applicant in the tax filer's family has filed an application for unemployment benefits.

(v)Alternate verification process. If a tax filer qualifies for an alternate verification process based on the requirements specified in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section and the applicant's attestation to projected annual household income, as described in paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(B) of this section, is no more than ten percent below the annual household income computed in accordance with paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section, the Exchange must accept the applicant's attestation without further verification.

(vi)Alternate verification process for decreases in annual household income estimates and for situations in which tax return data is unavailable. If a tax filer qualifies for an alternate verification process based on the requirements specified in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section and the applicant's attestation to projected annual household income, as described in paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(B) of this section, is more than a reasonable threshold below the annual household income computed in accordance with paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section, or if data described in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section is unavailable, the Exchange must attempt to verify the applicant's attestation of the tax filer's projected annual household income by following the procedures specified in paragraph (c)(3)(vi)(A) through (G) of this section. For the purposes of this paragraph (c)(3)(vi), a reasonable threshold is established by the Exchange in guidance and approved by HHS, but must not be less than 10 percent, and can also include a threshold dollar amount. The Exchange's threshold is subject to approval by HHS.

(A)Data. The Exchange must annualize data from the MAGI-based income sources specified in paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section, and obtain any data available from other electronic data sources that have been approved by HHS, based on evidence showing that such data sources are sufficiently accurate and offer less administrative complexity than paper verification.

(B)Eligibility. To the extent that the applicant's attestation indicates that the information described in paragraph (c)(3)(vi)(A) of this section represents an accurate projection of the tax filer's household income for the benefit year for which coverage is requested, the Exchange must determine the tax filer's eligibility for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions based on the household income data in paragraph (c)(3)(vi)(A) of this section.

(C)Increases in annual household income. If an applicant's attestation, in accordance with paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(B) of this section, indicates that a tax filer's annual household income has increased or is reasonably expected to increase from the data described in paragraph (c)(3)(vi)(A) of this section to the benefit year for which the applicant(s) in the tax filer's family are requesting coverage and the Exchange has not verified the applicant's MAGI-based income through the process specified in paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section to be within the applicable Medicaid or CHIP MAGI-based income standard, the Exchange must accept the applicant's attestation for the tax filer's family without further verification, unless the Exchange finds that an applicant's attestation of a tax filer's annual household income is not reasonably compatible with other information provided by the application filer or available to the Exchange in accordance with paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section, in which case the Exchange must request additional documentation using the procedures specified in § 155.315(f).

(D)Decreases in annual household income and situations in which electronic data is unavailable. If electronic data are unavailable or an applicant's attestation to projected annual household income, as described in paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(B) of this section, is more than ten percent below the annual household income as computed using data sources described in paragraphs (c)(3)(vi)(A) of this section, the Exchange must follow the procedures specified in § 155.315(f)(1) through (4).

(E) If, following the 90-day period described in paragraph (c)(3)(vi)(D) of this section, an applicant has not responded to a request for additional information from the Exchange and the data sources specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section indicate that an applicant in the tax filer's family is eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, the Exchange must not provide the applicant with eligibility for advance payments of the premium tax credit, cost-sharing reductions, Medicaid, CHIP or the BHP, if a BHP is operating in the service area of the Exchange.

(F) If, at the conclusion of the period specified in paragraph (c)(3)(vi)(D) of this section, the Exchange remains unable to verify the applicant's attestation, the Exchange must determine the applicant's eligibility based on the information described in paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section, notify the applicant of such determination in accordance with the notice requirements specified in § 155.310(g), and implement such determination in accordance with the effective dates specified in § 155.330(f).

(G) If, at the conclusion of the period specified in paragraph (c)(3)(vi)(D) of this section, the Exchange remains unable to verify the applicant's attestation for the tax filer and the information described in paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section is unavailable, the Exchange must determine the tax filer ineligible for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions, notify the applicant of such determination in accordance with the notice requirement specified in § 155.310(g), and discontinue any advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions in accordance with the effective dates specified in § 155.330(f).

(vii) For the purposes of paragraph (c)(3) of this section, “household income” means household income as specified in 26 CFR 1.36B-1(e).

(viii) For the purposes of paragraph (c)(3) of this section, “family size” means family size as specified in 26 CFR 1.36B-1(d).

(viii) For purposes of paragraph (c)(3) of this section, “family size” means family size as specified in section 36B(d)(1) of the Code.

(4) The Exchange must provide education and assistance to an applicant regarding the process specified in this paragraph.

(d)Verification related to enrollment in an eligible employer-sponsored plan and eligibility for qualifying coverage in an eligible employer-sponsored plan -

(1)General requirement. The Exchange must verify whether an applicant reasonably expects to be enrolled in an eligible employer-sponsored plan or is eligible for qualifying coverage in an eligible employer-sponsored plan for the benefit year for which coverage is requested.

(2)Data. The Exchange must -

(i) Obtain data about enrollment in and eligibility for an eligible employer-sponsored plan from any electronic data sources that are available to the Exchange and which have been approved by HHS, based on evidence showing that such data sources are sufficiently current, accurate, and minimize administrative burden.

(ii) Obtain any available data regarding enrollment in employer-sponsored coverage or eligibility for qualifying coverage in an eligible employer-sponsored plan based on federal employment by transmitting identifying information specified by HHS to HHS for HHS to provide the necessary verification using data obtained by HHS.

(iii) Obtain any available data from the SHOP that corresponds to the State in which the Exchange is operating.

(3)Verification procedures.

(i) If an applicant's attestation is not reasonably compatible with the information obtained by the Exchange as specified in paragraphs (d)(2)(i) through (iii) of this section, other information provided by the application filer, or other information in the records of the Exchange, the Exchange must follow the procedures specified in § 155.315(f).

(ii) Except as specified in paragraph (d)(3)(i) or (d)(4)(i) of this section, the Exchange must accept an applicant's attestation regarding the verification specified in paragraph (d) of this section without further verification.

(4)Alternate procedures. For any benefit year for which it does not reasonably expect to obtain sufficient verification data as described in paragraphs (d)(2)(i) through (iii) of this section, the Exchange must follow the procedures specified in paragraph (d)(4)(i) of this section or, for benefit years 2016 and 2017, the Exchange may follow the procedures specified in paragraph (d)(4)(ii) of this section. For purposes of this paragraph (d)(4), the Exchange reasonably expects to obtain sufficient verification data for any benefit year when, for the benefit year, the Exchange is able to obtain data about enrollment in and eligibility for qualifying coverage in an eligible employer-sponsored plan from at least one electronic data source that is available to the Exchange and that has been approved by HHS, based on evidence showing that the data source is sufficiently current, accurate, and minimizes administrative burden, as described under paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section.

(i) Select a statistically significant random sample of applicants for whom the Exchange does not have any of the information specified in paragraphs (d)(2)(i) through (iii) of this section and -

(A) Provide notice to the applicant indicating that the Exchange will be contacting any employer identified on the application for the applicant and the members of his or her household, as defined in 26 CFR 1.36B-1(d), to verify whether the applicant is enrolled in an eligible employer-sponsored plan or is eligible for qualifying coverage in an eligible employer-sponsored plan for the benefit year for which coverage is requested;

(B) Proceed with all other elements of the eligibility determination using the applicant's attestation, and provide eligibility for enrollment in a QHP to the extent that an applicant is otherwise qualified;

(C) Ensure that advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions are provided on behalf of an applicant who is otherwise qualified for such payments and reductions, as described in § 155.305, if the tax filer attests to the Exchange that he or she understands that any advance payments of the premium tax credit paid on his or her behalf are subject to reconciliation;

(D) Make reasonable attempts to contact any employer identified on the application for the applicant and the members of his or her household, as defined in 26 CFR 1.36B-1(d), to verify whether the applicant is enrolled in an eligible employer-sponsored plan or is eligible for qualifying coverage in an eligible employer-sponsored plan for the benefit year for which coverage is requested;

(E) If the Exchange receives any information from an employer relevant to the applicant's enrollment in an eligible employer-sponsored plan or eligibility for qualifying coverage in an eligible employer-sponsored plan, the Exchange must determine the applicant's eligibility based on such information and in accordance with the effective dates specified in § 155.330(f), and if such information changes his or her eligibility determination, notify the applicant and his or her employer or employers of such determination in accordance with the notice requirements specified in § 155.310(g) and (h);

(F) If, after a period of 90 days from the date on which the notice described in paragraph (d)(4)(i)(A) of this section is sent to the applicant, the Exchange is unable to obtain the necessary information from an employer, the Exchange must determine the applicant's eligibility based on his or her attestation regarding coverage provided by that employer.

(G) To carry out the process described in paragraph (d)(4)(i) of this section, the Exchange must only disclose an individual's information to an employer to the extent necessary for the employer to identify the employee.

(ii) Establish an alternative process approved by HHS.

(e)Additional verification related to immigration status for Medicaid and CHIP.

(1) For purposes of determining eligibility for Medicaid, the Exchange must verify whether an applicant who does not attest to being a citizen or a national has satisfactory immigration status to be eligible for Medicaid, as required by 42 CFR 435.406 and, if applicable under the State Medicaid plan, section 1903(v)(4) of the Act.

(2) For purposes of determining eligibility for CHIP, the Exchange must verify whether an applicant who does not attest to being a citizen or a national has satisfactory immigration status to be eligible for CHIP, in accordance with 42 CFR 457.320(b) and if applicable under the State Child Health Plan, section 2107(e)(1)(J) of the Act.

[ 77 FR 18444, Mar. 27, 2012, as amended at 78 FR 42316, July 15, 2013; 78 FR 54136, Aug. 30, 2013; 79 FR 30347, May 27, 2014; 81 FR 12341, Mar. 8, 2016]

Title 45 published on 12-Sep-2017 03:33

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 45 CFR Part 155 after this date.

  • 2017-04-18; vol. 82 # 73 - Tuesday, April 18, 2017
    1. 82 FR 18346 - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Market Stabilization
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, HHS, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
      Final rule.
      These regulations are effective on June 19, 2017.
      45 CFR Parts 147, 155, and 156