Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took a hit recently and a court ruling may make insurance purchased through the federal exchanges less affordable for people in Missouri and 35 other states.
The question about the legality of subsidies was raised after health law opponents filed lawsuits that claimed the tax credits enacted by Congress as part of the Affordable Care Act were intended to encourage states to set up their own health benefit exchanges and that the penalty for not doing so was withdrawal of tax credits for lower-income residents.
The case revolves around four words in the ACA, which says the tax credits are available to people who enroll through an exchange “established by the state”.
Missouri, and 35 other states have not set up their own exchanges, instead relying on the federal government’s program. Should the Washington ruling stand, eligible recipients would have to pay the full cost of care.
The federal market place is intended to make health coverage more affordable. I have a friend who has been uninsured for years but after the ACA marketplace opened he was able to buy insurance with the assistance of a subsidy. When he was shopping in the federal marketplace he found coverage for $525 per month, after the subsidy he only pays $136 per month.
I haven’t talked to him since this news broke but I would anticipate he is worried about what this means for him and his ability to afford coverage. The federal government is contesting the court ruling so there’s more to come but time is of the essence because the open enrollment period for shopping on the exchange begins in October and people in states like Missouri will want to know the real cost of insurance before they buy.