This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court entered the much anticipated decision in King v. Burwell. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court held that the subsidies “are available to individuals in States that have a Federal Exchange.” This case represented a challenge to the tax credits (commonly referred to as subsidies) to individuals who purchase insurance plans from health insurance “Exchanges” (marketplaces that allow consumers to compare and purchase insurance plans) established by the federal government rather than a state. Specifically, the petitioners argued that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) only provided for subsidies for insurance plans purchased through “an Exchange established the State” under §§36B(b)-(c) of the ACA.
Approximately 6.4 million Americans receive the subsidies in the 34 states that did not establish their own exchanges. Many experts predicted that if the Supreme Court held that the subsidies were not available to Americans in those 34 states many of those 6.4 million Americans would become uninsured and that the ACA would disintegrate. With today’s decision, those predictions will not be tested.
As a consequence of today’s decision, health care providers should continue to develop and implement their plans to adapt to the broad sweeping changes of the ACA and its impacts on health care providers.