What the ACA Supreme Court Ruling Means in Application

The initial wave of surprise (for most) and discussion on the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has – for the most part – passed. Now, the focus will be on the law in application. What does it mean to each state? Each company? Each individual person? Here are some great articles to help make sense of the true impact of ACA.

General Overview

  • A look at the ruling upholding Obamacare  (benefitspro)
    Starting in 2014, almost everyone will be required to be insured or pay a fine. There are subsidies to help people who can’t afford coverage. Most employers will face fines if they don’t offer coverage for their workers. Newly created insurance markets will make it easier for individuals and small businesses to buy affordable coverage. And Medicaid will be expanded to cover more low-income people. Full article >>
  • Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law, 5-4, in Victory for Obama (The New York Times)
    “The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.” Full article >>
  • The Supreme Court Health Reform Decision: Our Upside-Down Constitution (Health Affairs Blog)
    On the other side of the line, the individual mandate was found to pass muster under the taxing power, which again was an argument that commanded no support when the case was heard in the lower courts.  Yet the commerce clause argument, which was thought to be the stopper, was rejected by the Supreme Court on the now familiar grounds that Congress cannot require individuals to enter into an activity so that it could regulate it. Full article >>

Impact on States

  • Health Ruling Won’t Cure States’ Ills (The Wall Street Journal
    But for states, any outcome still leaves them poorly equipped to tackle an issue that has become one of their biggest financial headaches. The Medicaid program for low-income Americans takes up twice as large a share of their state budgets as it did 25 years ago and is crowding out education spending in places. Full article >>

Impact on Business

  • Health-Care Ruling Benefits Small Business, Some Say (CFO)
    Today’s decision will at the very least begin to force small businesses to start defining their benefit strategies, says Dean Hatfield, senior vice president and health practice leader of The Segal Co., a benefits and human-resources consultancy. “I think a lot of people on the small business side were thinking the whole [law] would be repealed, so there was a lull,” he says.Some small businesses, Hatfield says, may wait until the upcoming election (Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has promised to repeal the law “on my first day if elected President of the United States”), but he cautions “that you can’t stand still while the world moves around you.” Indeed, Hatfield sees the new law as an opportunity for small businesses. Full article >>
  • Stunned CFOs Now Must Focus on Complying with Health-care Act (CFO)
    The uncertainty is so great that the company has not bothered to quantify the cost impact of the law to date. And its executives haven’t begun to think about the upcoming decision facing all employers with more than 50 employees: whether to discontinue offering employee health benefits and instead steer employees to the state health-care exchanges that are scheduled to be operational by 2014 (often called the “pay or play” decision). Full article >>
  • What The Supreme Court’s ACA Ruling Will Mean For Providers (HealthAffairsBlog)
    Validating the ACA only underscores urgency of solving health care’s quality and affordability problem. Although the ACA promises to extend coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans, its provisions related to payment innovation — shared savings programs, bundled payments, pay-for-performance initiatives — have sharpened health care purchasers’ focus on reining in health spending and improving quality. In the commercial insurance world, the wholesale shift away from “defined benefit” health plans toward “defined contribution” approaches continues apace. Full article >>
  • HR on health reform: Better to keep all than some (benefitspro)
    Now that a decision has been made, employers must focus on how they can provide comprehensive care to participants, while offsetting costs that have been increasing year over year. Average health care costs per employee are expected to surpass $10,000 this year, with average premium rates going up 7 percent, according to HR consultant Aon Hewitt. Full article >>On top of that, it’s been shown that parts of the law could tack on costs here and there. For example, according to a study that consulting firm Lockton did with its clients, the requirement that employers automatically enroll employees into a health plan would add 3.8 percent to health insurance costs.

Impact on Consumer

  • Who the Health Ruling Impacts Most (Smart Money)
    The law will impact certain groups more than others. Younger and healthier Americans who have had cheaper premiums and higher deductibles will be forced to pay more, while the expansion of Medicaid will benefit poorer and sicker Americans who couldn’t afford health care until now, says Wendell Potter, former vice-president of corporate communications at Cigna. Of course, even experts say it’s unclear how quickly some of these changes will take hold; for example, some question whether all states will be able to roll out online “exchanges” designed to allow people to shop for individual insurance plan by 2014. Full article >>
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About thebenefitblog

Eric is a Producer at Lockton Insurance Brokers, Inc., the world’s largest privately held commercial broker. Eric has over 23 years of experience in the insurance industry and has spent the last 11 years with Lockton. Eric specializes in Health & Welfare Benefits, Retirement Planning, and Executive Benefits. Eric's clients utilize his expertise in the areas of Plan Due Diligence, Transaction Structure, Fiduciary Oversight, Investment Design, Compliance and Vendor negotiation to improve the operational & financial outcome for each client. The Benefit Blog is a place to share that expertise and industry news.
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