Young introduces bicameral legislation to expand individual mandate exemption

Legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) on Monday would expand an existing affordability exemption under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) due to higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.

Young introduced the bicameral Relief from Obamacare Mandate Act, H.R. 6019, in the House, while U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced S. 3251, a Senate version of the bill.

“Obamacare mandates are squeezing middle-class Hoosiers, forcing them to absorb double-digit premium increases and penalizing those who cannot afford the high cost of health coverage,” Young said. “In Indiana, plan options are increasingly limited, and the high deductibles that accompany them are sobering. The most popular plans in the marketplace now require Hoosier families to pay, on average, between $6,400 and $11,600 in out-of-pocket deductibles before their coverage kicks in.”

Under current law, an exemption from the ACA’s individual mandate kicks in when the lowest priced insurance premium would account for more than eight percent of a household’s income after subsidies. The exemption, however, does not take rising deductibles into account.

The Relief from Obamacare Mandate Act would expand that affordability exemption by incorporating the maximum annual deductible into the affordability determination to enable more consumers to qualify as deductibles increase.

“Despite its many promises, Obamacare isn’t affordable, nor is it working for the average American family,” Young said. “Our legislation provides greater financial relief from Obamacare’s individual mandate because the hardworking people we represent don’t deserve to be penalized under a partisan law that’s failed them.”

A new exemption established under the law would also suspend the individual mandate when health insurance premiums increase more than 10 percent year-over-year.

“Obamacare is in a death spiral,” Cotton said. “Premiums and deductibles are skyrocketing, networks are shrinking, and the entire exchange system is on the verge of collapse. What’s worse, hard-working families across the country will face a massive tax penalty because they can’t afford the high cost of coverage. The best solution is to fully repeal and place Obamacare. But as we work toward that goal, we must also provide Arkansans, Hoosiers, and all Americans a reprieve from the law’s worst effects. I am grateful to Congressman Young for his leadership and commitment to protecting Arkansans, Hoosiers and all Americans from the financial pain of Obamacare’s failures.” 

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