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HIX Bedeviled By Tech, Resource Hurdles

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, July 23, 2013

Part of the answer is that certain anti-PPACA interests may be playing upon the fears of the segment of the American public that does not understand computer systems, or the methods of protecting personally identifiable information. This sector of the population is instead inundated by fears of "big brother" and the many reported privacy breaches already present in our society.

In California, Hege used to be able to quote prospects a rate on health insurance simply by asking for their age. No more. As of Oct. 1, potential members must also provide his Web site with their social security number, income information, tax filing status, and more.

"The idea is we're going to ping the IRS with that information to then get a number back as to what their rebate is, based off of if they're eligible for a rebate first," Hege says. The amount of the rebate will be based off of what their tax filing status was last year.

The rebate could disappear, however, if the applicant ends up earning more money than projected in the current tax year. A job promotion "could push them out to where they don't have the rebate any longer, and then when they file their taxes at the end of the year, and they're expecting a return, they won't get a [rebate] anymore."

Few people are aware of this aspect of Obamacare, and fewer still are aware that a massive information technology integration effort is underway across the systems of the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security, to make the back end of this system work as the PPACA intended.

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