“Family Glitch” in Obamacare Could Leave Hundreds of Thousands of Children Without Coverage?

Posted: Sep 24, 2013 11:00 AM

This, my friends, is what happens when members of Congress pass legislation in order to find out what’s in it. Good grief. Even if you are one of the relatively few Americans who enthusiastically supports the Affordable Care Act (and all its provisions), this should obviously concern you:

A "family glitch" in the 2010 health care law threatens to cost some families thousands of dollars in health insurance costs and leave up to 500,000 children without coverage, insurance and health care analysts say.

That's unless Congress fixes the problem, which seems unlikely given the House's latest move Friday to strip funding from the Affordable Care Act.

Congress defined "affordable" as 9.5% or less of an employee's household income, mostly to make sure people did not leave their workplace plans for subsidized coverage through the exchanges. But the "error" was that it only applies to the employee — and not his or her family. So, if an employer offers a woman affordable insurance, but doesn't provide it for her family, they cannot get subsidized help through the state health exchanges.

That can make a huge difference; the Kaiser Family Foundation said an average plan for an individual is about $5,600, but it goes up to $15,700 for families. Most employers help out with those costs, but not all.

Obamacare goes into effect on October 1. So one would think the administration would have had this so-called “glitch” fixed in time, right? Nope:

"We saw this two-and-a-half years ago and thought, 'Has anyone else noticed this?'" said Kosali Simon, a professor of public affairs at Indiana University who specializes in health economics. "Everyone said, 'No, no. You must be wrong.' But we weren't, and that's going to leave a lot of people out."

The issue has recently received attention, especially after former president Bill Clinton highlighted it in a recent speech.

"The family glitch is definitely a drafting error that Congress made that needs to be fixed," said Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. "But that seems unlikely."

New rules state that those families will not be penalized for not purchasing coverage, but the point of the law was to make coverage affordable for families.

Then again, the Obama administration has “known for months” that implementing all Obamacare provisions on time and without issue was never going to happen. How long have they known about this minor “glitch,” I wonder? Meanwhile, the law is riddled with logistical snags and errors that will make it pretty much impossible to function as Democrats assured us it would. And yet here we are. In less than a week, we’ll hit the Obamacare implementation deadline -- and Congress (probably) won’t have the time and/or the political will to fix yet another serious error. So the “train wreck” will continue apace, it seems. Oh well. Maybe that’s what Democrats were planning to let happen all along.

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