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July 18, 2014

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In This Issue
Senate Attempt to Reverse SCOTUS's Hobby Lobby Ruling Falls Short
House Hearing Highlights Exchange Subsidy Verification Shortfalls
What To Know Before You Go Federal Exchange SHOPing in 2015
Who Wants To Be The Next Healthcare.gov Contractor?
HHS Opens Its Doors
What We're Reading
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Senate Attempt to Reverse SCOTUS's Hobby Lobby Ruling Falls Short
On Wednesday, Senate Democrats and three Senate Republicans (Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska) attempted to legislatively reverse the Supreme Court of the United States' (SCOTUS) recent decision in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell. This decision allows closely-held family corporations to claim a religious exemption from the health reform law's mandate for group health insurance plans to provide first-dollar coverage for contraceptives and cited protections under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as justification for its ruling. The Hobby Lobby decision only applies to four specific types of contraception. Other suits challenging an employer's obligation to provide coverage for all 20 types of birth control are pending in lower courts... Read More
House Hearing Highlights Exchange Subsidy Verification Shortfalls

President Ronald Reagan made an old Russian proverb -- trust but verify -- one of his mottos. Unfortunately, even though the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) promised last Fall to make it their motto too when it came to exchange-based subsidies, this week the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health revealed their promise to be a fairly empty one so far.  

Even though former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before Congress last Fall multiple times that the HHS subsidy verification process was ready and working, and certified its viability this past January, the House Committee has identified at least four million unverified subsidy cases. At the beginning of this month, the U.S. inspector general released a report that documented subsidy verification shortcomings. Findings of the report include... Read More

What To Know Before You Go Federal Exchange SHOPing in 2015

The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) in coordination with the Small Business Majority launched a series of weekly webinars this week focusing on what you need to know about the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) in 2015.

Agents and brokers wishing to sell on the federal exchange must successfully complete the annual Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) training program on the Medicare Learning Network (MLN). Training for the exchange is annual. So even if you sold coverage via the federal exchange last year and completed parts I and II of the CMS training, you must successfully complete part I of the 2015 training. You do not have to take part II, the identity proofing section, again. If you wish to sell on the federal SHOP exchange in 2015, completing the SHOP section of Part I of training is encouraged, but not required. Part II of training, the identity proofing, is required as well as completion of the privacy and securities agreements... Read More

Who Wants To Be The Next Healthcare.gov Contractor?

That seems to be one of the latest Healthcare.gov questions buzzing around Washington, DC, this week. Given the spectacular initial rollout of Healthcare.gov this past Fall, the federal government is on the hunt for a new contractor. While the new contractor won’t exactly have the biggest shoes to fill, they certainly have their work cut out for them. One of the new contractor’s main responsibilities will be to build the back-end of the website, because that key component still doesn’t exist. They will also be tasked with re-designing the online individual application on Healthcare.gov... Read More

HHS Opens Its Doors
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) opened its doors to several of Washington’s interest groups and associations earlier this week, including NAHU. The department launched what will be a series of monthly in-person meetings with several HHS officials and interest group representatives around town. Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell kicked off the first meeting, which was attended by several NAHU staff, by addressing the stakeholders that were in attendance. She discussed some of her marketing ideas for the upcoming enrollment period and spent a great deal of time thanking all of the organizations in the room for all the work that they did during open enrollment and continue to do on a daily basis. Secretary Burwell acknowledged the challenges of the last enrollment season and emphasized the department is working to avoid those challenges in 2015... Read More
What We're Reading

Hope your weekend is filled with happiness and these quick links!... Read More

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