On Thursday, June 25 the United States Supreme Court ruled to uphold insurance premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act by a 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell. If the court ruled to remove the subsidies it could have had serious implications to those receiving them and posed challenges to the Affordable Care Act as a whole.
By deciding to uphold this key provision of the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court assured that in states with their own health insurance exchanges and in states with the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (exchange) subsidies will remain available. This ruling means that nothing is changing regarding the Affordable Care act and that all of the provisions and requirements will remain the same moving forward. The United States Department of Health & Human Services Secretary, Sylvia M. Burwell, released a statement after the ruling that helps explain its implications which can be viewed here.
King v. Burwell and the court’s ruling on it received a lot of attention in the media but it is important to note that this case only directly applied to the approximately 6 million Americans receiving federal subsidies. Company Employee Benefit plans and the employees and their families that use them would not have been directly impacted had the court ruled conversely. There might have been some repercussions from this ruling down the road if it impacted the Affordable Care Act as a whole, but the immediate effects to Employee Benefit Plans would most likely have been minimal.