Enrollment for subsidized health insurance begins Nov. 1 on Kynect; ‘family glitch’ fix makes plans available to many more

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Open enrollment for federally subsidized health insurance plans starts Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 15, for coverage that begins Jan. 1.

Kentuckians can sign up for a qualified health plan on the state-based marketplace, Kynect, at Kynect.ky.gov. On the site, Kentuckians can compare options, apply for coverage and complete all enrollment on one platform.

Kynectors,” who help Kentuckians sign up for coverage on Kynect, are available at no charge in every county to answer questions and help people sign up for coverage.

Federal subsidies for the plans were expanded during the pandemic, and some of them have been  extended through 2025, including the removal of the “subsidy cliff,” allowing people with incomes above 400% of the poverty line to qualify for a subsidy if the full price of the benchmark plan is more than 8.5% of their income.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fact sheet says the extension of benefits will continue to be money-savers for people who purchase marketplace plans, noting that “Consumers in these plans saved an average of $800 on their premiums in 2021 as a result of the American Rescue Plan,” the first big spending bill passed by Democrats in Congress.

The Biden administration has also removed what is called the “family glitch,” which prevented some families from buying subsidized plans because their employer-based insurance was deemed affordable even though the affordability was based only on the cost of employee’ coverage, not the extra premium required to cover dependents.

“This left millions of people, mostly women and children, stuck between being unable to afford unsubsidized coverage from a family member’s existing policy while also being deemed ineligible to receive more affordable coverage through the marketplace,” Kentucky Voices for Health said in an e-mail.

The Internal Revenue Service now looks at the affordability of an employer’s plan by considering premium costs for the entire family.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 5.1 million Americans have fallen into the family glitch. KVH estimates the change could affect as many as 72,000 Kentuckians.

Statewide, Kaiser reports that 73,935 people enrolled in individual or family plans during the open enrollment period for 2022 coverage. That was a little lower than 2021, when nearly 78,000 people enrolled.

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