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OPINION - Another healthcare.gov problem

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU) For those who say Obamacare is a done deal, here's the latest cheating that's come to light.

When you sign up under the healthcare.gov site, you're asked to enter your adjusted gross income. It's not hard to find; it's on your tax return. Some people have gotten this wrong. They've looked at their end-of-year pay stub, which would report a figure much too high. They'd lose out on tax subsidies for health coverage and would wind up overpaying for their policies. But there are others who are cheating and reporting an adjusted gross income that's too low. They're getting subsidies they're not entitled to, and are ripping off the system.

Happily [sic], healthcare.gov anticipated this problem. If the income numbers entered don't match the IRS records, the account is flagged. A letter is sent telling the enrollee that they need to verify their income, usually by sending-in copies of their paychecks.

But that's where the system falls apart. The Washington Post reports no one has been un-enrolled for suspicion of lying about their income. The Obama administration didn't want to do anything to make the closely-watched enrollment numbers move backwards. And the back-end of healthcare.gov where the sent-in paycheck information would be entered and corrected hasn't been built yet. Cheaters get a free ride, at least for now.

Chris Conley
5.21.14



Image: The back of a female patient with a doctor who is using a stethoscope to listen to her lungs, National Cancer Institute, via WikiCommons.com