The Internal Revenue Service this week will publish a final rule requiring Obamacare health insurance exchanges to hand over key personal data to the IRS, which will use the information to implement the tax aspects of the controversial health care law.
The IRS rule covers health exchanges that sell insurance to individuals, and it takes effect this year. That means people enrolled in an Obamacare exchange this year will have their information given to the IRS as soon as it’s needed for tax purposes.
Information to be handed over from Obamacare exchanges includes names, addresses, taxpayer identification numbers, insurance premium amounts, the name of the insurance issuer, and the insurance plan policy number issued by the exchanges.
The IRS says this data is needed to assess whether people are eligible for a health insurance tax credit. “This tax credit can help make purchasing health insurance coverage more affordable for people with moderate incomes,” according to the IRS.
The rule is being published amid ongoing concerns about data security, and after the troubled launch of the healthcare.gov website that exposed many technical glitches. Those issues have some worried that the personal data people give to the exchanges will be at risk.
House Republicans have passed a few bills aimed at addressing this potential problem. In January, for example, the House passed the Exchange Information Disclosure Act, which would require the government to tell people whenever their personal information has been compromised.
Republicans have also passed legislation requiring weekly updates from the administration on how the law is being implemented, including details about website glitches.
So far, however, only the House has passed these bills, and the Senate has not given any indication it will consider them.
The final IRS rule follows draft regulations that were issued last summer. Those rules were put out for public comment, and the final rules to be published this week were tweaked in some ways in response to those comments.
But the IRS also ignored some requests to alter the rule. For example, the draft rule said exchanges must tell the IRS whether a person enrolled in an Obamacare plan by a taxpayer is that taxpayer’s dependent. The commenter said the IRS should have that information, and that it therefore doesn’t need to be reported.
But the IRS said it would not change this rule.
“The final regulations do not adopt this comment because information the IRS provides as part of the verification process is from the taxpayer’s most recently filed tax return, which may be two years old,” the rule states.
The final IRS rule is due to be published on Wednesday.