On April 5, the Biden administration issued an executive order (EO) titled, “Continuing to Strengthen Americans’ Access to Affordable, Quality Health Coverage.” The EO directs agencies “with responsibilities related to Americans’ access to health coverage” to “review agency actions to identify ways to continue to expand the availability of affordable health coverage.”
The accompanying fact sheet explains that the EO aims to strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by directing the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to address the so-called “family glitch.” Under the ACA, individuals who lack access to affordable health insurance through their employer may qualify for a premium tax credit to purchase coverage through the health insurance marketplace exchange. However, current regulations stipulate that employer-sponsored health insurance is affordable if coverage extends only to the employee, and not the employee’s family members. The estimated five million Americans impacted by this “family glitch” cannot afford coverage through their family member’s employer-sponsored plan but are ineligible for premium tax credits.
The EO would address this concern by extending tax credits to these individuals, thereby expanding coverage to 200,000 previously uninsured individuals. “This proposed rule would amount to the most significant administrative action to improve implementation of the ACA since its enactment,” the accompanying fact sheet stated.