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US Treasury Dept. Wording Could Exclude Millions from Health Care Benefits

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As many as four million Americans could wind up without health care benefits if a new federal rule is implemented as interpreted by the Treasury Department, warned consumer advocates, doctors and Democratic lawmakers.

Under the healthcare reform act adopted by Congress, low- and moderate-income employees can opt out of their employer's coverage if it proves to be too costly to afford. In these cases, Americans are supposed to be eligible for federal subsidies that allow them to purchase their own coverage through state-based exchanges.

More than 100 advocacy groups, including March of Dimes and Easter Seals, have signed a letter arguing that a new regulation being developed by the Department of the Treasury would create a loophole through which 3.9 million dependents would slip and lose access to health insurance.

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