42 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2010 Edition
Title 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE
CHAPTER 157 - QUALITY, AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL AMERICANS
SUBCHAPTER V - SHARED RESPONSIBILITY FOR HEALTH CARE
From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov

SUBCHAPTER V—SHARED RESPONSIBILITY FOR HEALTH CARE

Part A—Individual Responsibility

§18091. Requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage; findings

Congress makes the following findings:

(1) In general

The individual responsibility requirement provided for in this section (in this section referred to as the “requirement”) is commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce, as a result of the effects described in paragraph (2).

(2) Effects on the national economy and interstate commerce

The effects described in this paragraph are the following:

(A) The requirement regulates activity that is commercial and economic in nature: economic and financial decisions about how and when health care is paid for, and when health insurance is purchased. In the absence of the requirement, some individuals would make an economic and financial decision to forego health insurance coverage and attempt to self-insure, which increases financial risks to households and medical providers.

(B) Health insurance and health care services are a significant part of the national economy. National health spending is projected to increase from $2,500,000,000,000, or 17.6 percent of the economy, in 2009 to $4,700,000,000,000 in 2019. Private health insurance spending is projected to be $854,000,000,000 in 2009, and pays for medical supplies, drugs, and equipment that are shipped in interstate commerce. Since most health insurance is sold by national or regional health insurance companies, health insurance is sold in interstate commerce and claims payments flow through interstate commerce.

(C) The requirement, together with the other provisions of this Act, will add millions of new consumers to the health insurance market, increasing the supply of, and demand for, health care services, and will increase the number and share of Americans who are insured.

(D) The requirement achieves near-universal coverage by building upon and strengthening the private employer-based health insurance system, which covers 176,000,000 Americans nationwide. In Massachusetts, a similar requirement has strengthened private employer-based coverage: despite the economic downturn, the number of workers offered employer-based coverage has actually increased.

(E) The economy loses up to $207,000,000,000 a year because of the poorer health and shorter lifespan of the uninsured. By significantly reducing the number of the uninsured, the requirement, together with the other provisions of this Act, will significantly reduce this economic cost.

(F) The cost of providing uncompensated care to the uninsured was $43,000,000,000 in 2008. To pay for this cost, health care providers pass on the cost to private insurers, which pass on the cost to families. This cost-shifting increases family premiums by on average over $1,000 a year. By significantly reducing the number of the uninsured, the requirement, together with the other provisions of this Act, will lower health insurance premiums.

(G) 62 percent of all personal bankruptcies are caused in part by medical expenses. By significantly increasing health insurance coverage, the requirement, together with the other provisions of this Act, will improve financial security for families.

(H) Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.), the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 201 et seq.), and this Act, the Federal Government has a significant role in regulating health insurance. The requirement is an essential part of this larger regulation of economic activity, and the absence of the requirement would undercut Federal regulation of the health insurance market.

(I) Under sections 2704 and 2705 of the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C. 300gg–3, 300gg–4] (as added by section 1201 of this Act), if there were no requirement, many individuals would wait to purchase health insurance until they needed care. By significantly increasing health insurance coverage, the requirement, together with the other provisions of this Act, will minimize this adverse selection and broaden the health insurance risk pool to include healthy individuals, which will lower health insurance premiums. The requirement is essential to creating effective health insurance markets in which improved health insurance products that are guaranteed issue and do not exclude coverage of pre-existing conditions can be sold.

(J) Administrative costs for private health insurance, which were $90,000,000,000 in 2006, are 26 to 30 percent of premiums in the current individual and small group markets. By significantly increasing health insurance coverage and the size of purchasing pools, which will increase economies of scale, the requirement, together with the other provisions of this Act, will significantly reduce administrative costs and lower health insurance premiums. The requirement is essential to creating effective health insurance markets that do not require underwriting and eliminate its associated administrative costs.

(3) Supreme Court ruling

In United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters Association (322 U.S. 533 (1944)), the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that insurance is interstate commerce subject to Federal regulation.

(Pub. L. 111–148, title I, §1501(a), title X, §10106(a), Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 242, 907.)

References in Text

This Act, referred to in par. (2)(C), (E) to (J), is Pub. L. 111–148, Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 119, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 18001 of this title and Tables.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, referred to in par. (2)(H), is Pub. L. 93–406, Sept. 2, 1974, 88 Stat. 829, which is classified principally to chapter 18 (§1001 et seq.) of Title 29, Labor. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1001 of Title 29 and Tables.

The Public Health Service Act, referred to in par. (2)(H), is act July 1, 1944, ch. 373, 58 Stat. 682, which is classified generally to chapter 6A (§201 et seq.) of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 201 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

2010—Par. (2). Pub. L. 111–148, §10106(a), amended par. (2) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (2) described effects of the individual responsibility requirement on the national economy and interstate commerce.

§18092. Notification of nonenrollment

Not later than June 30 of each year, the Secretary of the Treasury, acting through the Internal Revenue Service and in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall send a notification to each individual who files an individual income tax return and who is not enrolled in minimum essential coverage (as defined in section 5000A of title 26). Such notification shall contain information on the services available through the Exchange operating in the State in which such individual resides.

(Pub. L. 111–148, title I, §1502(c), Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 251.)

Part B—Employer Responsibilities

§18101. Free choice vouchers

(a) In general

An offering employer shall provide free choice vouchers to each qualified employee of such employer.

(b) Offering employer

For purposes of this section, the term “offering employer” means any employer who—

(1) offers minimum essential coverage to its employees consisting of coverage through an eligible employer-sponsored plan; and

(2) pays any portion of the costs of such plan.

(c) Qualified employee

For purposes of this section—

(1) In general

The term “qualified employee” means, with respect to any plan year of an offering employer, any employee—

(A) whose required contribution (as determined under section 5000A(e)(1)(B) of title 26) 1 for minimum essential coverage through an eligible employer-sponsored plan—

(i) exceeds 8 percent of such employee's household income for the taxable year described in section 18082(b)(1)(B) of this title which ends with or within in 2 the plan year; and

(ii) does not exceed 9.8 percent of such employee's household income for such taxable year;


(B) whose household income for such taxable year is not greater than 400 percent of the poverty line for a family of the size involved; and

(C) who does not participate in a health plan offered by the offering employer.

(2) Indexing

In the case of any calendar year beginning after 2014, the Secretary shall adjust the 8 percent under paragraph (1)(A)(i) and 9.8 percent under paragraph (1)(A)(ii) for the calendar year to reflect the rate of premium growth between the preceding calendar year and 2013 over the rate of income growth for such period.

(d) Free choice voucher

(1) Amount

(A) In general

The amount of any free choice voucher provided under subsection (a) shall be equal to the monthly portion of the cost of the eligible employer-sponsored plan which would have been paid by the employer if the employee were covered under the plan with respect to which the employer pays the largest portion of the cost of the plan. Such amount shall be equal to the amount the employer would pay for an employee with self-only coverage unless such employee elects family coverage (in which case such amount shall be the amount the employer would pay for family coverage).

(B) Determination of cost

The cost of any health plan shall be determined under the rules similar to the rules of section 300bb–4 of this title, except that such amount shall be adjusted for age and category of enrollment in accordance with regulations established by the Secretary.

(2) Use of vouchers

An Exchange shall credit the amount of any free choice voucher provided under subsection (a) to the monthly premium of any qualified health plan in the Exchange in which the qualified employee is enrolled and the offering employer shall pay any amounts so credited to the Exchange.

(3) Payment of excess amounts

If the amount of the free choice voucher exceeds the amount of the premium of the qualified health plan in which the qualified employee is enrolled for such month, such excess shall be paid to the employee.

(e) Other definitions

Any term used in this section which is also used in section 5000A of title 26 shall have the meaning given such term under such section 5000A.

(Pub. L. 111–148, title X, §10108(a)–(e), Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 912, 913.)

References in Text

Section 5000A(e)(1)(B) of title 26, referred to in subsec. (c)(1)(A), was in the original “section 5000A(e)(1)(B)” and was translated as if it had been followed by “of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986”, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

1 See References in Text note below.

2 So in original. The word “in” probably should not appear.