KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Report: IRS Ready To Calculate Subsidies, Needs To Boost Fraud Detection

The report concluded that subsidies could be vulnerable to fraud -- marking yet another potential trouble spot for the health law's implementation.

The Associated Press: Audit: Health Care Subsidies Vulnerable To Fraud
Government subsidies to help Americans buy insurance under the health care overhaul may be vulnerable to fraud, a Treasury Department watchdog warned on Tuesday in the latest indication that troubles are far from over for President Barack Obama’s signature legislation. The rollout of the law has been hurt by canceled policies and problems with the federal website used by people to enroll in health plans, causing political headaches for the White House and for Democrats in Congress. The new problems concern subsidies that are available to low- and medium-income people who buy insurance through state-based exchanges that opened in October (Ohlemacher, 12/3).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: IG Report: IRS Must Be Vigilant On Health-Care Fraud
The Internal Revenue Service has developed accurate systems for calculating health-care tax credits under the Affordable Care Act, but it needs to strengthen fraud detection and other systems, the inspector general for the IRS said in a report. Starting in January, eligible taxpayers who buy insurance through government-run exchanges can qualify for the credits under the health law to help them pay their premiums (McKinnon, 12/3).

Politico: Report: IRS Ready On ACA Tax Credits But Not For Fraud
The Internal Revenue Service has successfully finished testing systems to accurately calculate tax credits under Obamacare but needs to improve its controls to avoid problems with fraud as the agency begins doling out the credits in 2014, an inspector general report said Tuesday. The Treasury inspector general for tax administration said in a report that IRS software has a system to verify tax credit calculations before it issues them to health insurers, but it said the agency may not yet have a system in place to stop tax cheats seeking to underestimate their incomes and fraudulently cash in on health subsidies (Bade and French, 12/4).

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