No wonder people are confused

The health reform law is pretty confusing, as evidenced by a recent Jimmy Kimmel bit where people walking on Hollywood Boulevard were asked which they liked better – Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. Their answers are really funny.

According to an August Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, 44% of Americans either believe the ACA has been repealed or aren’t sure of its status, a stat that’s almost unbelievable for agents and brokers who talk about health reform every day.

But while it’s somewhat understandable for average Americans to be confused about the law, it’s somewhat less excusable for our elected officials or, worse, administration officials in charge of implementing the legislation, to mis-state the facts. But that happened recently at a House Ways and Means Committee Hearing when both Paul Ryan and CMS chief Marilyn Tavenner incorrectly stated that young adults who are eligible to enroll on their parents’ health plan are ineligible for a premium tax credit in the individual market.

As Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation, explains in a Kaiser Health News blog post by Michelle Andrews, “As long as the parents don’t claim the adult children as dependents on their tax return, the young adults are not considered part of their parents’ household and can apply for exchange subsidies on their own.”

The good news, as the post points out, is that Ryan and Tavenner “managed to agree about one thing” but, “Unfortunately, they’re both wrong.”

Additional information about the ability of young adults to access a subsidy is provided in a follow-up article by Michelle Andrews on November 8th.

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