Court Leaves Complicated Health Insurance Law in Place
The Supreme Court has released its multi-page opinion in the King V. Burwell case, and the result is clear. The PPACA was written with the intention that subsides be available in all states, not just those with state-based exchanges.
The case offers some clarity on the future of health insurance in the United States, and will allow the business and insurance industries to move forward on implementing and adjusting the law.
Tonya Booth, Vice President of Employee Benefits at Upshaw Insurance Agency in Richardson, says that “This ruling means the implementation of PPACA will continue and its reform provisions will remain in effect for the foreseeable future. With the exchange question answered, we plan to continue our legislative work to improve the parts of this law that are quite simply broken. With that being said, some very real and monumental challenges remain.”
From a big picture perspective, the Court considered two possible scenarios: the reading of the law that subsidies are available in exchanges established by individual states, or the law for universal availability of subsidies in all states and all exchanges. We now know what they chose to do. So, what next?
The full-scale implementation of PPACA will continue unabated, all insurance reform provisions will remain in effect, and there’s the possibility that with the continuity of subsidies in all exchanges no longer in question, legislation to “fix” the PPACA will now have more traction to move forward in Congress after summer recess. Janet Trautwein, CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters, added, “Our hope is that policymakers will now be able to focus on legislative efforts to truly reduce the cost of healthcare, something that the ACA did not. It’s also critical that lawmakers improve upon the portions of our healthcare system that work well. The employer-based system has reliably and effectively delivered quality health coverage to generations of Americans. We, as a nation, need to work to preserve it.”
The ruling also means that the insurance industry will remain business as usual much as it’s been for the past couple of years. Kelly Fristoe, President and CEO of employee benefit brokerage Financial Partners in Wichita Falls said, “For the agent community, business will continue as it has been. We’ll continue to be a resource to our clients in helping them make the best financial decisions possible in their purchase of health insurance plans, both on and off exchange.”
Joe Phifer, President-Elect for the Texas Association of Health Underwriters, believes “The SCOTUS ruling and the discussion around it underscores that health insurance is exceedingly complex. So whether it’s an individual, small group or 5,000-life case that’s looking to make a health insurance decision, they’ll want and need the guidance of the best and brightest. The role of the insurance consultant is even more valuable than ever after today’s ruling.”
Businesses and consumers interested in locating a professional health benefits adviser in their community who can assist with questions about the Affordable Care Act may go to the “Find an Agent” link on www.tahu.org.
The Texas Association of Health Underwriters (TAHU) is a professional association representing licensed health insurance agents, brokers, consultants and benefit professionals who serve the health insurance needs of employers seeking health insurance coverage. TAHU is a state chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters.
Lee ManrossTexas Association of Health UnderwritersRegistered Lobbyist512-322-9787LManross@aol.com
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