Many Families With Unaffordable Employer Coverage Now Eligible for Covered California Subsidies

by | Jan 4, 2023 | Health

If having the family on your employer-sponsored health plan has been a financial hardship, or outright impossible to afford, help may be on the way.

The federal government recently fixed a controversial Treasury Department rule tied to the Affordable Care Act that denied assistance to many families whose workplace coverage busted their budgets.

Because of the so-called family glitch, if a worker had access to employee-only coverage deemed affordable under federal guidelines, a spouse or dependents could not get help to buy a health plan through Covered California, the state’s ACA insurance marketplace, even if it was not affordable to put them on the employer plan.

This affected an estimated 5.1 million people nationally, more than half of them children, since employers often contribute only to an employee’s premium, leaving workers to pay full fare for other family members.

Under a new rule that took effect Dec. 12, if the cost of having you and your family on a workplace plan exceeds an affordability threshold — set at 9.12% of household income for 2023 — your spouse and dependents could qualify for financial aid to purchase insurance through Covered California. Affordability will be determined by how much you would have to pay to have them — and you — on your employer’s cheapest health plan.

ACA insurance subsidies come in the form of federal tax credits that can be taken upfront or settled with the IRS when you file your taxes the following year.

Estimates from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the UC Berkeley Labor Center show that 391,000 Californians previously excluded from subsid …

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