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The Importance Of The Meaning And Measurement Of "Affordable" In The Affordable Care Act

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Executive Summary

This working paper highlights the practical importance of two critical but under-explored assumptions behind existing estimates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s potential impact on the mix of employees and families who may have Employer-Sponsored health Insurance (ESI) in the future or may receive subsidies in the new health insurance exchanges. The first assumption is whether ACA's affordable coverage rule will be interpreted to mean that employers must provide affordable single coverage or that they must provide affordable family coverage policies to workers with families to avoid paying a fine. The second assumption is how much employers and employees will cooperatively agree in the future to designing new compensation contracts to take advantage of the way "Affordability" is determined.

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