Saturday, August 10, 2013

Glitch In Affordable Care Act Threatens Viability Of Church Health Plans; Fix Introduced But Unlikely To Pass

Religion News Service reports today on a technical glitch in the Affordable Care Act that will make it difficult for churches to continue to offer church health plans.  Under the Act, tax credits are available to low-income and middle class families to assist them in purchasing insurance through the government-run exchanges.  However the same credits are not available for church employees to use to purchase insurance under church plans. This means that many clergy and other church employees who qualify for tax credits are likely to pull out of church plans and purchase insurance on exchanges. That may well jeopardize the viability of church plans.  S. 1164, The Church Health Plan Act of 2013, was introduced in June by Senators Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Chris Coons (Del.) to correct this inconsistency so tax credits can be used for church plans.  However Republican opposition to enacting improvements to Obamacare make it unlikely that the bill will be enacted.