A final rule, released Wednesday, set out a strict definition of affordable health insurance that will prevent many families with modest incomes from obtaining federal financial assistance.
The New York Times: Federal Rule Limits Aid To Families Who Can't Afford Employers Health Coverage
The Obama administration adopted a strict definition of affordable health insurance on Wednesday that will deny federal financial assistance to millions of Americans with modest incomes who cannot afford family coverage offered by employers. In deciding whether an employer's health plan is affordable, the Internal Revenue Service said it would look at the cost of coverage only for an individual employee, not for a family (Pear, 1/30).
The Wall Street Journal: Workers' Children Won't Get Subsidies
The decision, announced by the Obama administration on Wednesday, means some low-income Americans whose employer-plan premiums are beyond their means won't be eligible for the main perk of the law. Several provisions are behind the wrinkle (Radnofsky, 1/30).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Some Families Will Be Ineligible For Insurance Subsidies Under Final Rule
But the rule defines the standard for affordability more narrowly than most consumer groups had hoped -; as an amount less than 9.5 percent of household income to cover just that employee's share of premium costs, not on what he or she must pay to cover their entire family, which is generally more expensive" (Appleby, 1/30).
The Associated Press: Some Families To Be Priced Out Of Health Overhaul
The Obama administration says its hands were tied by the way Congress wrote the law. Officials said the administration tried to mitigate the impact. Families that can't get coverage because of the glitch will not face a tax penalty for remaining uninsured, the IRS rules said (Alonso-Zaldivar, 1/30).
In addition --
Modern Healthcare: No Penalty For Medicaid-Eligible Uninsured, Proposed Rule Says
Two proposed rules from HHS and the IRS issued Wednesday describe how the government intends to apply the law's individual insurance mandate effective in 2014. Tax filers will need to begin verifying in 2015 that all of their dependents have qualifying coverage or pay tax penalties for them. The regulations describe a number of exemptions from the mandate, which requires most Americans to obtain qualifying health insurance or face tax penalties. About 2% of the population is expected to face those tax penalties despite the exemptions, according to the Congressional Budget Office (Daly, 1/30).
The Hill: Obama Administration Takes Steps To Implement Individual Mandate
The Obama administration took new steps Wednesday toward implementing the individual mandate in its signature healthcare law, downplaying the scope of the unpopular provision by stressing rules that allow exemptions from the requirement to purchase insurance. The Internal Revenue Service and the Health and Human Services Department emphasized exceptions to the mandate, which were detailed in new regulations that also laid out the process by which the IRS will calculate penalties for going uninsured (Baker, 1/30).