Support of Division M of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Actby Senator Thomas R. Carper
Posted on 2014-12-12
CARPER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to engage in a
colloquy with my colleague, Senator Coons.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. CARPER. Madam President, along with my colleague Senator Coons, I rise today in support of Division M of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act. I would also like to clarify the intent of this bipartisan and technical bill, which was necessary to clearly explain how the Affordable Care Act, ACA, should apply to U.S.-issued expatriate health insurance plans and to ensure that U.S. health insurers who provide expatriate health insurance plans encounter the same legal requirements and expectations as foreign expatriate health insurers.
Expatriate health insurance plans are high-quality and comprehensive health insurance plans intended for a globally mobile, highly skilled and sought-after workforce. Expatriate workers can be found in diverse industries and sectors, including corporations such as airlines and oil and gas exploration companies, nonprofit organizations, foreign aid groups, and contractors in conflict zones supporting or protecting U.S. troops and citizens. Expatriate workers often travel between multiple countries several times within 1 year or live in foreign countries for prolonged periods of time. These expatriate workers and their families typically require and depend on comprehensive health care services and other supporting services in multiple countries in the course of one year. U.S.-issued expatriate plans cover fewer than 500,000 individuals, which primarily include Americans working overseas.
My understanding and intent is that the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act should make only limited and technical modifications to the ACA that apply to U.S. health insurers providing health insurance coverage to ``qualified expatriates'' as defined by this legislation. These modifications are necessary to ensure that U.S. insurance companies offering expatriate health plans can remain competitive in the global marketplace for these plans, alongside foreign insurers who are not subject to the same ACA requirements. This legislation should not affect current labor or immigration laws or regulations. I have worked hand-in-hand with Senators Coons, Toomey, Rubio, Harkin, Wyden, Alexander, Hatch, and a bipartisan group of our House colleagues to ensure that the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act is narrowly written to respect, and leave undisturbed, our existing immigration laws and regulations.