BATON ROUGE, La. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana reminds those buying individual health plans that the annual Healthcare.Gov Open Enrollment Period begins today and goes through Jan. 15, 2023. And, thanks to recent federal changes, more Louisianians are now eligible to shop for individual health plans and use financial credits they qualify for to pay their premiums.
“The IRS has fixed a long-standing issue with Healthcare.Gov known as the “Family Glitch.” This will help many more Louisiana families save money on their 2023 health insurance plans,” said Blue Cross Health Care Economist Mike Bertaut.
About the Family Glitch Fix
The Affordable Care Act created financial assistance to help individuals and families pay premiums on Healthcare.gov plans. If an individual is employed and has insurance available through an employer, financial assistance is only available if the employer insurance is considered unaffordable.
The original IRS regulations to determine “affordability” only looked at the premium the employee family member would pay, not at the dependents’ premium cost to cover the entire family. As a result, many families found the cost of coverage unaffordable. This unaffordability problem for families under the original IRS rules has been called the “Family Glitch.”
A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of 2021 employer-based health insurance rates showed Louisiana ranked 49th nationally in the amount employers contribute to spouse and dependent coverage. “That means Louisianians on average pay a lot more than employees in other states for their dependents’ health coverage,” Bertaut said. “But, no matter how expensive it was for the family, the mere existence of that dependent coverage offer disqualified them getting advanced tax credits on Healthcare.Gov to pay for an individual health plan – until now.”
The IRS has made changes for 2023 to address the Family Glitch. For all health plan coverage effective Jan. 1, 2023 and beyond, if an employer makes an offer of health insurance coverage to an employee’s spouse or dependents that is deemed unaffordable by the federal standard of costing 9.12% or more of total household income, they can shop for individual plans on Healthcare.Gov. And, they can use any advanced premium tax credits they qualify for to help pay for that coverage.
Bertaut said the tax credits on Healthcare.Gov are richer than they’ve ever been, since the Inflation Reduction Act that Congress passed earlier this year extended the American Rescue Plan Act financial assistance eligibility changes. People with much higher incomes can now qualify for federal financial aid.
“Many more Louisianians can now get financial assistance to help pay for their health plans,” Bertaut said. “If you don’t get an offer of coverage through work, or you don’t get an affordable offer to cover your spouse and dependents, I’d really encourage you to go to Healthcare.Gov and see what you qualify for. You could get a lot of financial relief and find a quality health plan at a much lower price.”
Another good thing about exploring your options on Healthcare.Gov is that if your income qualifies for the state’s Medicaid program, the site will direct you there to enroll, Bertaut said.
Bertaut shares more about the Family Glitch fix and other tips for choosing 2023 health plan coverage in this video news release from Hometown Productions (9:38).
Connect With An Agent
Need help reviewing your 2023 health plan options? You can work with a licensed, experienced agent at no cost. Connect with one by visiting www.GetPlanOptions.com or calling 1-844-GET-BLUE (1-844-438-2583; TTY 711). There is no obligation to buy because you speak to an agent.
Enrollment Dates to Know:
• Healthcare.Gov Open Enrollment Period begins Nov. 1, 2022
• Enroll in a Healthcare.Gov plan by Dec. 15, 2022 for coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2023
• Healthcare.Gov Open Enrollment Period ends Jan. 15, 2023
• Coverage on plans enrolled in between Dec. 16, 2022 and Jan. 15, 2023 will start Feb. 1, 2023
Straight Talk and Other Resources
Bertaut is the primary author of Straight Talk, Blue Cross’ multimedia blog on health care costs, trends and policy. The blog is typically updated weekly. Visitors to www.StraightTalkLA.com can sign up to get the Straight Talk e-newsletter, which is issued with every new post.
Bertaut recently wrote a Straight Talk post explaining the Family Glitch fix in greater detail.
Follow Blue Cross on social media @BCBSLA to get health plan enrollment tips and see messages about various health topics. Blue Cross posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok. Visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel to see short health and wellness videos. Subscribe to know when new videos are added.
NOTE FOR MEDIA: Bertaut is available for interviews and media appearances about the Family Glitch fix, enhanced federal tax credits and other topics related to the Healthcare.Gov Open Enrollment Period. Email Blue Cross Strategic Communications with requests.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past four years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media @BCBSLA.