Insurers may be comfortable with the fees the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed charging the carriers that sell coverage through HHS-run Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchanges.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today during a hearing on the HHS budget organized by the House Appropriations health and human services subcommittee that she has not seen much reaction to the 3.5 percent exchange user fee that HHS has proposed.
PPACA calls for HHS and states to make exchanges, or Web-based health insurance supermarkets, available to residents of all 50 states and the District of Columbia by Oct. 1. Some states are setting up their own exchange programs; others are depending on HHS to do some or all of the work.
HHS is calling the exchanges it will help run “federally facilitated exchanges” (FFEs).
When HHS shares the work with state agencies, the HHS-state exchanges are called “partnership exchanges.”
Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., the subcommittee chairman, asked what statutory basis HHS has for imposing the user fee.
Sebelius reported that HHS is charging the fee because PPACA authorizes HHS to charge a fee, and requires each state’s exchange to eventually generate the revenue to pay for its own operations by charging user fees or coming up with some other source of revenue.
“So far as I know, there’s no litigation,” Sebelius said.