Biden will announce a fix for ACA’s ‘family glitch’ with Obama’s help

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WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is expected Tuesday to propose a way to increase the number of dependents who can get subsidized insurance under the Affordable Care Act, a fix to what’s been called the “family glitch.”

In the proposal, if a family plan through the workplace costs more than 10% of a worker’s income, his or her spouse and children could be provided with financial assistance to purchase a private plan through the Obamacare exchange.

The White House says this change could lead to coverage for an estimated 200,000 people without insurance as early as next year

According to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity, about 1 million people may be able to switch to a more affordable plan.

According to Mr. Levitt from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan organization, the change, which is subject to rule-making, could be the most consequential action that the Biden Administration can take without Congressional approval to decrease the cost of health insurance.

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FILE – In this Jan. 12, 2017 file photo, The President of the United States, Barack Obama, laughs while presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington..The former president of the United States is returning to the White House for the first time since leaving office to promote the changes made for his signature domestic achievement..

Last year, Vice President Biden signed into law the largest expansion of health care since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010.
The pandemic package granted additional Obamacare insurance subsidies to those who had already been approved for assistance via state and federal marketplaces.It also made assistance available to individuals earning more than four times the federal poverty level.

The boost, however, was only for two years.

Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan that failed in the Senate included legislation to extend the expanded subsidies.

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The fix for this “family glitch” has been underway since Vice President Biden signed an executive order, during his first days in office, directing agencies to review the actions that can be taken to make health care more affordable and accessible.

As part of the administration’s efforts to change the insurance coverage offered by employers, a family member of a worker would be eligible for a subsidized plan offered in the marketplace.

Currently, a workplace health plan is considered affordable if it costs less than 9.83% of a worker’s household income. The calculation does not include the cost of adding family members to the plan.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 5.1 million people will be affected by the IRS’s original interpretation of the Affordable Care Act regulation. Of those affected, not all will choose marketplace plans once the problem is resolved. In some cases, keeping the worker’s health insurance may be more convenient than switching to a marketplace plan because only the family members will be eligible

14.5 million Americans sign up for Obamacare during open enrollment for 2022

During open enrollment for 2022 coverage, more than 14.5 million people bought ACA marketplace plans. In addition to temporarily expanding subsidies, the administration also quadrupled the number of people who were eligible for risk pool subsidies.

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