Concord Monitor: Kuster introduces bill to expand tax credit, addressing ‘family glitch’ in Affordable Care Act
In an attempt to address what’s referred to as the “family glitch” in the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster introduced the Family Coverage Act this week to expand access to premium tax credits for those whose employer-provided health insurance exceeds a certain amount of their annual household income.
The bill, proposed Thursday, seeks to amend the Internal Revenue Service guidelines so that employees are eligible for tax credits if their insurance contributions for employer-provided health insurance would exceed 9.5 percent for family coverage. Under current IRS regulations, that 9.5 percent threshold for determining affordability is only being applied to individual coverage, say Kuster and representatives for organizations addressing health care access in New Hampshire.
As Lisa Kaplan Howe, Policy Director for NH Voices for Health, explained: “The affordability test to determine if you should be able to purchase employer-sponsored coverage for the entire family is based on the cost of coverage for only one person.” Those whose employer-sponsored plans meet that affordability standard are not presently eligible for premium tax credits. Kuster’s bill, if passed, would change that to apply to “taxable years beginning after December 31, 2013.”
“What was happening was that there were middle-class families that could not qualify for the tax credit even though the cost of family coverage was very high,” said Kuster, a Democrat. “So our goal was to ensure that, if they don’t have access to affordable job-based coverage, they can receive a premium tax credit to help pay for family coverage.”
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