With the release of the Final Exchange/Marketplace Application for individuals (see our blog HHS Releases Streamlined Exchange Applications for more information), communication with the state and federal exchanges regarding eligibility and potential tax credits and federal subsidy requires employers to provide very specific information—but via paper! And that information is NOT to be submitted by the employer. The applicant must use the employer-supplied information to complete the application that he or she then submits.
Why this process? Good question. What we know is that this is a potentially daunting task at hand, assuming employees will even know what they will have to do come Open Enrollment for 2014.
Is there a better way? Absolutely. There are alternative, automated processes that are both intuitive and allow the employer the opportunity to ensure true and correct information on each employee that is submitted in a timely fashion. This process does not require the employer to submit the information to the employee who then hopefully transfers the information to the individual employee application for submission to the exchange for eligibility and subsidy determination. It is possible that communication could be direct to the exchange, in which case there would be no employee transfer, translation, or risk for miscommunication.
Such “blue-sky” ideas require a direct communication link between employers and both state and federal exchanges, regardless of their offer of employer-sponsored health coverage. Health e(fx) is ready to communicate with the exchanges once these links are established, putting the employer in a proactive position regarding employee coverage and enrollment choices.