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Title 45

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Title 45

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Editorial codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register.

§ 156.805 Bases and process for imposing civil money penalties in Federally-facilitated Exchanges.

(a) Grounds for imposing civil money penalties. Civil money penalties may be imposed on an issuer in an Exchange if, based on credible evidence, HHS has reasonably determined that the issuer has engaged in one or more of the following actions:

(1) Misconduct in the Federally-facilitated Exchange or substantial non-compliance with the Exchange standards and requirements applicable to issuers offering QHPs in the Federally-facilitated Exchange, including but not limited to issuer standards and requirements under parts 153 and 156 of this subchapter;

(2) Limiting the QHP's enrollees' access to medically necessary items and services that are required to be covered as a condition of the QHP issuer's ongoing participation in the Federally-facilitated Exchange, if the limitation has adversely affected or has a substantial likelihood of adversely affecting one or more enrollees in the QHP offered by the QHP issuer;

(3) Imposing on enrollees premiums in excess of the monthly beneficiary premiums permitted by Federal standards applicable to QHP issuers participating in the Federally-facilitated Exchange;

(4) Engaging in any practice that would reasonably be expected to have the effect of denying or discouraging enrollment into a QHP offered by the issuer (except as permitted by this part) by qualified individuals whose medical condition or history indicates the potential for a future need for significant medical services or items;

(5) Intentionally or recklessly misrepresenting or falsifying information that it furnishes -

(i) To HHS or an Exchange; or

(ii) To an individual or entity upon which HHS relies to make its certifications or evaluations of the QHP issuer's ongoing compliance with Exchange standards applicable to issuers offering QHPs in the Federally-facilitated Exchange;

(6) Failure to remit user fees assessed under § 156.50(c); or

(7) Failure to comply with the cost-sharing reductions and advance payments of the premium tax credit standards of subpart E of this part.

(b) Factors in determining the amount of civil money penalties assessed. In determining the amount of civil money penalties, HHS may take into account the following:

(1) The QHP issuer's previous or ongoing record of compliance;

(2) The level of the violation, as determined in part by -

(i) The frequency of the violation, taking into consideration whether any violation is an isolated occurrence, represents a pattern, or is widespread; and

(ii) The magnitude of financial and other impacts on enrollees and qualified individuals; and

(3) Aggravating or mitigating circumstances, or other such factors as justice may require, including complaints about the issuer with regard to the issuer's compliance with the medical loss ratio standards required by the Affordable Care Act and as codified by applicable regulations.

(c) Maximum penalty. The maximum amount of penalty imposed for each violation is $100 as adjusted annually under 45 CFR part 102 for each day for each QHP issuer for each individual adversely affected by the QHP issuer's non-compliance; and where the number of individuals cannot be determined, HHS may estimate the number of individuals adversely affected by the violation.

(d) Request for hearing.

(1) An issuer may appeal the assessment of a civil money penalty under this section by filing a request for hearing under an applicable administrative hearing process.

(2) If an issuer files a request for hearing under this paragraph (d), the assessment of a civil money penalty will not occur prior to the issuance of the final administrative decision in the appeal.

(e) Failure to request a hearing.

(1) If the QHP issuer does not request a hearing within 30 days of the issuance of the notice described in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, HHS may assess the proposed civil money penalty.

(2) HHS will notify the issuer in writing of any penalty that has been assessed under this subpart and of the means by which the QHP issuer or another responsible entity may satisfy the CMP assessment.

(3) The QHP issuer has no right to appeal a penalty with respect to which it has not requested a hearing in accordance with the requirements of the applicable administrative hearing process unless the QHP issuer can show good cause, as determined under § 156.905(b), for failing to timely exercise its right to a hearing.

(f) Circumstances requiring HHS enforcement in State Exchanges and State-based Exchanges on the Federal platform.

(1) HHS will enforce the requirements of subpart E of this part and 45 CFR 156.50 if a State Exchange or State-based Exchange on the Federal platform notifies HHS that it is not enforcing these requirements or if HHS makes a determination using the process set forth at 45 CFR 150.201, et seq. that a State Exchange or State-based Exchange on the Federal platform is failing to substantially enforce these requirements.

(2) If HHS is responsible under paragraph (f)(1) of this section for enforcement of the requirements set forth in subpart E of this part or 45 CFR 156.50, HHS may impose civil money penalties on an issuer in a State Exchange or State-based Exchange on the Federal platform, in accordance with the bases and process for imposing civil money penalties set forth in this section.

[78 FR 54143, Aug. 30, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 15245, Mar. 19, 2014; 79 FR 30351, May 27, 2014; 81 FR 12351, Mar. 8, 2016; 81 FR 61581, Sept. 6, 2016; 86 FR 24293, May 5, 2021]