Copy of the regs is in the link. Pages 223 to 225.
They are calling this a user fee. They cite certain benefits to the insurers and state they are allowed to charge them. Here is the relevant language:
quote: "If a State is not an electing State or does not have an approved Exchange, section 1321(c)(1) directs HHS to operate an Exchange within the State. In addition, 31 U.S.C. 9701 permits an agency to establish a charge for a service provided by the agency.(p.222 below)...
we are proposing that HHS collect a user fee from participating issuers (as defined in §156.50(a)) to support the operation of Federally-facilitated Exchanges. Participating issuers will receive two special benefits not available to the general public when they offer plans through a Federally-facilitated Exchange: (1) the certification of their plans as QHPs (Qualified health plans), and (2) the ability to sell health insurance coverage through a Federally facilitated Exchange to individuals determined eligible for enrollment in a QHP.(p.223)
For the 2014 benefit year, we propose a monthly user fee rate equal to 3.5 percent of the monthly premium charged by the issuer for a particular policy under the plan. We seek to align this rate with rates charged by State-based Exchanges, and may adjust this rate to take into account comparable State-based Exchange rates in the final Payment Notice.(p.224)...."
Here is a list of stories on this in Kaiser Health News: