According to advice issued Thursday by federal health officials, states should be free to redefine the use of subsidies, which began in 2014. They represent the first help the government ever has offered middle-class consumers to afford monthly premiums for private insurance. States could allow the subsidies to be used for health plans the administration has been promoting outside the ACA marketplaces that are less expensive because they provide skimpier benefits and fewer consumer protections. In an even more dramatic change, states could let residents with employer-based coverage set up accounts in which they mingle the federal subsidies with health-care funds from their job or personal tax-deferred savings funds to use for premiums or other medical expenses..
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