The ACA's individual mandate requires that almost all individuals have minimum essential coverage or pay a tax penalty. The Ninth Circuit recently upheld the individual mandate provision under the ACA. An Arizona plaintiff brought a case against the government, alleging, among other things, that the individual mandate violates his substantive due process rights. Specifically, he argued that the individual mandate burdened his right to medical autonomy.
The Court determined that the ACA does not violate an individual's right to determine one's own medical treatment. It reasoned that the individual mandate does not require individuals to select a particular insurance plan, to use that plan once purchased, or to use a particular physician to obtain services. Further, the Court found that only plaintiff's economic interests were implicated by the individual mandate and the United States Supreme Court has not extended substantive due process rights to economic interests.
This ruling is relevant for employers because it reinforces that all individuals (barring an exemption) are required to obtain minimum essential coverage. Since one of the primary ways that individuals acquire such coverage is through employment, it is likely that the employer mandate will continue to be upheld by the courts.
To view the whole opinion, please go to: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2014/08/07/13-15324.pdf