By Stacy M. Brown | NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
(NNPA) – President Joe Biden said he wants to expand access to health care, and he’s doing so by proposing a change to the Affordable Care Act to allow more people eligibility for premium tax credits.
Under the President’s plan, families would receive tax credits if the cost of their coverage exceeds more than 10 percent of their incomes.
The U.S. Treasury Department said the change would allow 200,000 uninsured individuals to gain coverage while more than 1 million others would realize lower premium payments.
“Thanks to the landmark American Rescue Plan, ACA premiums are at an all-time low, while enrollment is at an all-time high,” the administration said in a Fact Sheet ahead of a formal announcement at the White House with former President Barack Obama.
“Four out of five Americans can find quality coverage for under $10 a month, and families are saving an average of $2,400 on their annual premiums — $200 in savings every month back to families.”
The Fact Sheet continued:
“The Administration has lowered costs and increased enrollment to a record high of 14.5 million Americans—including nearly 6 million who newly gained coverage.
“With the addition of Missouri and Oklahoma, two states that expanded Medicaid last year, nearly 19 million low-income Americans are enrolled in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion coverage, adding up to a record nearly 80 million children, pregnant women, seniors, people with disabilities, and other low-income Americans covered by Medicaid.”
The administration said it’s seeking to fix the “family glitch” in the ACA law.
“Under the ACA, people who do not have access to ‘affordable’ health insurance through their jobs may qualify for a premium tax credit to purchase affordable, high-quality coverage on the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces,” administration officials stated.
“Current regulations define employer-based health insurance as ‘affordable’ if the coverage solely for the employee, and not for family members, is affordable, making family members ineligible for a premium tax credit even though they need it to afford high-quality coverage through the Marketplace.”
The officials added that, for family members of an employee offered health coverage through an employer, the cost of that family coverage can sometimes be very expensive and make health insurance out of reach.
The “family glitch” affects about 5 million people and has made it impossible for many families to use the premium tax credit to purchase an affordable, high-quality Marketplace plan, officials stated.
Biden’s proposal reportedly would require some time before taking effect, thus the goal is for it to begin in January.
Administration officials said more than 14.5 million people purchased ACA marketplace plans this winter.
That number included 6 million who purchased health insurance for the first time.