Obama Care Family Glitch

I’ve been reading about the so called Obama Care family glitch and believe that I am one of the lucky people it applies to. Just wondering what are my best options.

Here is my situation:

$35k annual income for me, spouse that does not work and two children.

My employer offers health insurance at a cost of $0 for individual only and $800 per month for a family plan.

Even though family coverage would cost 27% of my gross income it is considered affordable because individual insurance is offered at less than 9% of income for individual. “Affordable” coverage bars me receiving any family insurance subsidies for the exchange that I would be entitled to if not for the individual coverage offered.

My possible actions:

  1. Find a new job that doesn’t offer coverage so that I qualify for subsidies.
  2. Ask my employer to drop coverage (I did and they were not receptive to the idea).
  3. Continue to not have coverage for my family AND pay a surtax for the luxury. (Not what I thought was being promised)
  4. Legally divorce so that wife can get coverage for herself and kids effectively for free (on top of whatever other goodies come at the $0 income level).
  5. File married filing separate income tax returns with wife claiming kids and $0 income so she can qualify for exchange subsidy (not sure if this is allowed -can someone shed some light).
  6. Are there other options I didn’t consider to get family coverage for under 10% of my gross income?

There is another option. The 9.5% of income threshhold is only from the employer’s perspective. The employer will not be penalized for offering unaffordable insurance - your single-only premium is less than 9.5% of your individual income.

But it is still true that the spouse does not have affordable coverage because the out of pocket for the family premium is more than 8% of the family/household income. So you can’t apply for coverage through the exchange, but your spouse can and the spouse’s policy can include the kids.

So for her the expected contribution would be $2800 per year - i.e. 8% times $35k family income? Doesn’t sound like much of a glitch if that’s the case. Why the media attention into this?

Since the OP is seeking advice, let’s move this to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

There are lots of commentators and politicians who want to latch onto any and every piece of this law and criticize it, even when they do so incorrectly.

But I also wouldn’t be surprised if some people call up some minimum wage employee in a health exchange call center and don’t get all of the right answers about the options they have. In fact, this is one of my biggest complaints about the complexity in this law - the people most in need of working the system are generally the ones least equipped to manage the system.

Assuming this is an actual glitch, this is the sort of thing that, in a world with two rational political parties, they’d get together and fix this and some of the other minor glitches in the law.

But one party wants the law to fail (or not be implemented), so they aren’t going to cooperate with attempts to fix any of the (relatively minor, so far) bugs that have cropped up in it.