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'Family glitch' problem in ACA drawing attention

Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 |
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - We are in the final countdown to open enrollment for health care coverage under the new federal Affordable Care Act.

With that, there are some problems in the law getting new attention. The latest is being called the family glitch.

With complex legislation like this, experts say there will be glitches. This one is called a drafting error, but now, some say it may be too late to fix it.

With only 7 days before enrollment starts, insurance lawyer Lisa DeMoss has been giving webinars and helping people to make sense of the complex law.

She says the so-called 'family glitch' is a real problem.

"It appears to be more of a structural issue with the way the statute is designed with unintended consequences," she explained.

The glitch only affects people whose employer gives them health coverage, but doesn't cover their family.

Those family members would currently then not get any subsidies if enrolling in the new Affordable Care Act coverage.

DeMoss says Congress could easily fix the mistake.

"I would hope the Congress would now redirect their attention to addressing the needs of the consumers and try to address these technical issues that arise," she said.

But with the current divided political climate that could take time.

Don Hazaert, with Michigan Consumers for Health Care says it will be the consumers who suffer.

"The problem you have is everything around the Affordable Care Act is so politicized that you would almost be inviting a major fight over the Affordable Care Act to fix any attempt to fix minor errors in the law," he said.

Hazaert says it will likely be months before there could be legislation to fix the family glitch.

Experts that spoke to Newschannel 3 on Tuesday say on the whole, people are looking forward to enrolling next week.

Lisa DeMoss, with Cooley Law, said there will be 140 different plan options for people in Michigan to choose from, and they can compare them side-by-side.
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