Health News
New rule opens ObamaCare subsidies to more families seeking coverage

New rule opens ObamaCare subsidies to more families seeking coverage

Nearly one million additional Americans will have access to ObamaCare subsidies next year under a final rule issued Tuesday by the Biden administration.

The rule fixes the so-called “family glitch,” a loophole in the health law that prevents family members from receiving ObamaCare subsidies if a household member has access to an affordable employer-sponsored health plan. 

An employer-sponsored plan is considered “affordable” if it costs the employee about 9.5 percent of his or her income for single coverage. 

But as written, the law did not take into account the increased premiums for adding family members onto the plan. That put coverage for many families out of reach. The rule from the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service changes that threshold.

Democrats and health advocacy groups have long pushed for a fix, and health law experts said changing the statute is something the White House has the authority to do without Congress. 

Open enrollment for ObamaCare coverage in 2023 begins Nov. 1, so people signing up for coverage will be able to take advantage of the new policy. 

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average annual premium for a single worker was just over $7,700 in 2021 but topped $22,000 for a family. About 5 million Americans, mostly children, are impacted by the family glitch, KFF found, but not all of them will be eligible. 

“This marks the most significant administrative action to implement the Affordable Care Act since the law was first put into place,” President Biden said in a statement. 

The fix will mean the Affordable Care Act “works the way Congress intended and the cost of coverage comes down for families all over the country,” Biden said.