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End of 'Family Glitch' Means Affordable Coverage for More KY Families


Thursday, October 13, 2022   

This week the Internal Revenue Service announced it is fixing the Affordable Care Act's so-called family glitch, which calculated affordability for enrollees based on the cost to them alone, leaving out dependents.

The Biden administration said around one million Americans will either gain coverage or shrink their coverage costs as a result of the new rule.

Cara Stewart, director of policy advocacy at Kentucky Voices for Health, said under the glitch, school lunch workers, bus drivers or others who typically have access to employer-sponsored coverage but cannot afford to cover the cost of insuring their children or spouse were left out.

"So you can imagine how frustrating it was for families to say, 'But I don't have access to affordable coverage. It costs my whole paycheck to cover my family,' " Stewart pointed out.

An Urban Institute report released last year found 72,000 Kentuckians would be eligible for marketplace premium tax credits if the family glitch were fixed. Opponents of the rule change argue the move will increase government spending.

Stewart noted cooler weather, football and pumpkin season signals the time of year to start thinking about open enrollment and health coverage needs for the coming year.

"Go to and get somebody to talk to you about options," Stewart urged. "There will be a lot of people who will move to connect marketplace plans and who will save money by doing that, and get better coverage."

She added she is worried eligible residents many not be aware of how the change opens the doors to affordable coverage for families, especially women and children.

"I'm concerned about it not having the immediate impact that it should, because people won't know to try again, because people have had bad experiences," Stewart observed. "Once you miss somebody that first time, it is hard to get people to try again."

Stewart encourages all Kentuckians to check out their options during open enrollment. Research shows more than half of the population impacted by the family glitch are children of low-wage workers.

Disclosure: Kentucky Voices for Health contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Children's Issues, Consumer Issues, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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