In the recent slew of United States Supreme Court cases, a decision was upheld involving the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Better known as “Obamacare,” the Supreme Court ruled on the wording and phrasing of the ACA. This case was a matter of a state’s obligation versus the federal government’s obligation.
Due to funding issues and technology deficiencies, states have been unable to keep up with enrollment demand and communication. The Affordable Care Act stated, “Established by the State,” with the most recent ruling interpreting that to mean, “State or Federal Government.” As a result, states are now allowed to piggy-back off of the federal government’s communication technologies, partially or completely. This helps create easier access to enrollment, speeding up the administrative process of providing healthcare insurance to Americans not covered.
The Ruling’s Immediate Impact
The Affordable Care Act allows for tax credits in all 50 states, where as before, the incentives were only extended to the 16 states with authorized online federal insurance exchanges. This allows for the current subsidies in place to continue providing healthcare access to the millions of uninsured. None of the current processes have changed as a result of this ruling, they have just been reaffirmed, and allow the IRS to continue providing a tax credit to those Americans that acquire health insurance.
What This Means at the State Level
Consumers can continue to receive, or gain access to, subsidies that help lower premiums regardless if they purchase their healthcare through federal or state exchanges. If this ruling would have gone the other way, over 6 million insured in 34 states would have lost their subsidy assistance, and their premiums would have rose any where from 300 to 600 percent.
Additional Benefits Reaffirmed Under This Ruling
In addition to the above results, the ruling also confirms the following:
- Children stay insured under their parents until age 26
- Seniors continue to receive discounts on medication
- Americans with disability continue to receive discounts on prescriptions
- Cost-equality; if you’re a woman you can’t be charged more than anyone else
The Outlook for Health Insurance
This court case was brought before The Supreme Court as a means to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts knew the judicial implications within the healthcare insurance field if the Federal Government’s involvement was removed. There are currently over 17 million previously uninsured Americans that are now covered because of Obamacare.
Many experts assert that withdrawing those benefits would throw the healthcare industry into disarray, negatively impacting general practitioners. This most recent ruling helps provide easier access to healthcare for the remaining 35 million uninsured individuals. A nice caveat to take away from this: many health insurance entities have benefitted from the ruling. Providers like Humana and United Health Group saw their stock prices increase as a result this decision.