Trapped in America's Safety Net

Trapped in America's Safety Net

One Family's Struggle

Andrea Louise Campbell

As written by Congress, the ACA states that people who have access to “affordable” insurance through their employer cannot get subsidies to buy health insurance on the exchanges instead (the intent was to prevent people from leaving employer-provided coverage for the exchanges). The ACA defines “affordable” coverage as costing no more than 9.5 percent of family income. But the IRS ruling tied “affordability” to the cost of health coverage for an individual worker, typically around $ 5,600, not the cost of family coverage, which costs about three times as much, around $ 15,700. Therefore, if an employer is unwilling to pay a portion of family premiums, some family members may remain uninsured, unable to afford the full premium on their own and ineligible for the subsidies.

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