Think-tank says ‘family glitch’ could deprive children of coverage

A conservative think-tank warns almost 2 million children may be without health coverage if the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is cancelled because kids are now covered under ObamaCare.

The American Action Forum says that while the Affordable Care Act has extended healthcare coverage to individuals and their families, an interpretation of the law called the “family glitch” could leave many children without coverage. 

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“Though the ACA mandates that employers offer coverage deemed affordable for their employees, the administration has interpreted this requirement as applying only to the employee and not extending the same benefits to members of the employee’s family,” say Angela Boothe and Christopher Holt, policy analysts at AAF, in a Tuesday blog post.

“If an employee is offered coverage through their place of work, they and their family are no longer eligible for subsidized insurance in the Exchange. This flaw in the ACA’s design prevents an estimated 1.9 million children from having access to subsidized health insurance through the Exchange,” they added.

CHIP was passed by Congress to help families cover their children’s health insurance if they make too much to qualify for Medicaid but earn too little to afford health insurance on their own.

However, the Affordable Care Act mandates children are covered under their parent’s health insurance.

AAF says that as Congress considers reauthorizing the program, lawmakers should not cancel the program altogether and neither should they continue funding it at the same level as they have in the past.

Instead the policy think-tank says the CHIP program should be reconfigured to only help children who are not covered under ObamaCare due to the “family glitch.”

“Because of the loopholes in the ACA, some children will still need CHIP, but any reauthorization of the program should be designed and funded in a way that allows states to meet the needs of their changing CHIP populations, streamlines program operations and maintains beneficiary responsibility,” said AAF.

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