An audit from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found ineligible enrollees were awarded $21.8 million in advance premium tax credits from Obamacare exchanges, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges are supposed to ensure that individuals who apply for tax credits have their identity verified, including their date of birth, address, and telephone number.
The audit discovered 35,276 individuals received $112 million in advance premium tax credits because the exchanges did not successfully verify their identity. Ninety-nine percent of those applicants were not subject to the verification process and 251 even failed the verification.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services oversees the Obamacare exchanges. Their responsibility is to ensure advance premium tax credits are only rewarded to those individuals who have been verified to have a low to moderate income, making them eligible to receive payment to help curb the costs of purchasing health care.
“When we provided the results of our review to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, management stated that the ACA does not require the exchanges to verify an applicant’s identity,” the audit reported. “Management indicated that identity information is not a requirement or a factor in the determination for an individual’s eligibility for health insurance coverage through the exchanges.”
Of the 11,388 individuals who received the $21.8 million in tax credit payments, one or more of the eligibility requirements were not met by the recipient. No data existed at all for the eligibility verification of 2,498 applications.
Another provision, the “good faith” provision, allowed ineligible recipients to continue receiving tax credits by submitting any form of documentation illustrating they could still receive benefits, regardless of the documents’ relevance.
The auditors declared the lax in verification processes inappropriate. Andy Slavitt, the acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services responded by affirming that centers would commit to improving performance and protecting taxpayer dollars.
“Moving forward,” Slavitt stated, “the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services remains committed to improving the performance and outcomes of the state-based and federally-facilitated Marketplaces as well as continuing to protect the integrity of taxpayer dollars.”
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