IRS: 330K Eligible for Subsidies in Health Insurance Exchanges
More than 330,000 consumers have been notified of their eligibility for federal subsidies in the federally operated and state-run health insurance exchanges since Oct. 1, according to data released Saturday by the Internal Revenue Service, the Washington Post's "Wonkblog" reports (Kliff, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 10/26).
According to The Hill's "Healthwatch," the number represents how many consumers have made it past the application filing status but does not represent the number of consumers who have purchased coverage (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 10/26). The White House has said it will not release enrollment data until mid-November ("Wonkblog," Washington Post, 10/26).
Federal Data Hub 'Model of Efficiency'
IRS is one of about six agencies connected to the federal data hub (Kliff/Somashekhar, Washington Post, 10/26). The hub verifies exchange applicants' income information with IRS and then transmits verifications back to the marketplace (California Healthline, 8/13).
In a blog post on the HHS website on Saturday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the hub has been "a model of efficiency." In addition, she responded to Republican concerns that the hub would not protect consumer information. She noted, "It's important to understand that the hub is not a database," adding, "It doesn't retain or store information" (Winfield Cunningham, Politico, 10/26).
IRS spokesperson Terry Lemons said, "Our IT systems are working well and providing both the historical tax data and the computation service accurately and quickly through the government's data hub."
IRS said so far it has responded to about 1.3 million requests -- or about 80,000 per day -- for income data through the hub, and said it is responding to requests on average in about 1.2 seconds ("Wonkblog," Washington Post, 10/26).
Washington State Experiences Issues With Data Hub
Although the federal data hub has been working markedly better than HealthCare.gov, officials from Washington state said they have experienced some technical issues with it, according to "Wonkblog."
On Friday, Washington HealthPlanFinder officials said that about 8,000 consumers have received incorrect information regarding their subsidies.
Washington HealthPanFinder CEO Richard Onizuka said, "The investigation revealed that the two systems were using different parameters to establish estimated household income [and as] a result, some ... applicants did not receive the correct tax credit information related to their premiums."
Onizuka noted that the consumers had been notified and the problem was resolved within 24 hours ("Wonkblog," Washington Post, 10/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.