This Week: The Supreme Court May Make Your Health Insurance Too Expensive!

Do you have a health insurance plan that you bought from HealthCare.gov?

If so, this blog is especially for you . . .

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

The cancer community is anxiously awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the King v. Burwell case, in which the plaintiff argues that individuals who buy health insurance from a “federally-facilitated” health insurance marketplace, should not be entitled to financial help to buy insurance plans.

The decision is expected to be announced on Thursday, June 25, or Monday, June 29. To read the oral arguments of the King v. Burwell case, which occurred in March, visit: http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/14-114_1bo2.pdf.

This case depends on how the 9 members of the Supreme Court look at one sentence in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which says that the financial assistance will be available for people “enrolled through an Exchange established by the State.”

Although, the ACA intended for every state to create their own state health insurance marketplace, aka exchanges, more than half of the states chose not to do so. This left the federal government to create marketplaces for those states.

This chart shows the type of marketplace in each state, for 2015:

State Marketplace Chart June 2015

If the Supreme Court agrees with the plaintiff in this case, then people who live in a state without a state marketplace will lose their financial help to buy health insurance.

It is estimated that 8.2 million people will lose their health insurance coverage, because they will not be able to afford their monthly premiums without the financial assistance provided by the ACA. In Florida, for example, 93% of people with a marketplace plan get financial assistance. Nationwide, 88% people with marketplace plans receive financial help, which on average, cuts the cost of monthly premiums by 72%.

With fewer people participating in the marketplaces, it will increase the premiums for everyone who continues to buy their coverage from the marketplaces. Some estimates suggest Alaska, Wyoming, Delaware, Wisconsin and South Carolina will be hardest hit.

For more details and research about the impact of a Supreme Court ruling for the plaintiff, visit: www.urban.org/features/king-v-burwell.

For detailed, state-by-state information on the potential effects of the King v. Burwell ruling, visit: http://kff.org/interactive/king-v-burwell-effects.

As of now, there is no plan in place to deal with a Supreme Court decision eliminating the financial assistance. It’s unclear if that would mean that the financial assistance would end the minute the Supreme Court makes their decision, if it would end at the end of the month, or even at the end of the year.

Despite such an important decision looming, most people aren’t paying any attention to how this decision is going to impact their daily lives.

For more information about marketplaces in general read this blog post.

Stay tuned . . . We will post a blog update once we have a Supreme Court decision!

Triage Cancer
info@triagecancer.org