Biden administration to fix glitch in health care law to mark anniversary

Obama to join Biden at the White House

Then-President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden walk to the signing ceremony of the Affordable Care Act at the White House on March 23, 2010. Obama will mark the 12th anniversary of the law by joining Biden at the White House. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Then-President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden walk to the signing ceremony of the Affordable Care Act at the White House on March 23, 2010. Obama will mark the 12th anniversary of the law by joining Biden at the White House. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Posted April 5, 2022 at 5:00am

Former President Barack Obama will join President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday to mark the 12th anniversary of Obama's signature health care law, as the Biden administration announces new steps to expand coverage. 

Biden plans to issue an executive order to increase health insurance coverage and the Treasury Department will roll out a proposed rule to close the so-called family glitch, a long-sought move that could lower health insurance costs for up to 5 million Americans.

The Treasury’s proposed rule would address a policy loophole in the 2010 health care law that measures affordability only for an employee in an employer-sponsored plan rather than for the employee’s entire family. 

“We think this is the most significant administrative action to improve the implementation of the ACA that we've taken since the law was first implemented,” a senior administration official told reporters on a call Monday.

Eligibility for insurance subsidies is based just on what it would cost an employee to get coverage rather than what it would cost to ensure the employee’s family. If an individual’s employer-sponsored insurance is considered affordable for the individual, not the family, the family can’t access subsidies on the exchange under the law.

The glitch means families in that scenario would be unable to get insurance they can afford. The proposed rule would close the family glitch loophole beginning Jan. 1, 2023. 

Biden will also sign an executive order that directs agencies to continue efforts to strengthen access to affordable health care and make it easier for people to enroll in and keep their health coverage. 

The order issued Tuesday would build on an order Biden issued in January 2021 to expand the 2010 health care law. The administration provided few details to reporters Monday night.