Supreme Court Rules to Uphold the Individual Mandate: The Affordable Care Act Survives
On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States (the Court) issued a 5-4 ruling upholding the constitutionality of the individual mandate. The individual mandate is the centerpiece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the Act), which requires most individuals to purchase health insurance coverage or pay a penalty in the form of a tax. Another aspect of the Court's decision construes the Medicaid provision narrowly, but does not invalidate it.
With today's ruling, the entirety of the Act remains law, including those portions that impact employer sponsored group health plans. Therefore, employers and governmental entities that sponsor group health plans must continue to comply with provisions of the Act already in effect (e.g., the elimination of lifetime and annual dollar limits on essential health benefits and the extension of dependent child coverage to age 26). Sponsors must also be ready to comply with provisions of the Act set to take effect in the next several years, including the upcoming requirement to distribute a summary of benefits and coverage to participants and the obligation to report the cost of an employee's health coverage on the 2012 Forms W-2 issued in January 2013.
Ice Miller plans to provide an analysis of the Court's landmark decision in the coming days and will issue a detailed review of the obligations the Act places on employers and governmental entities that sponsor group health plans. We will also provide an analysis of how the ruling impacts other parties, such as health care providers and health insurance exchanges. You can read about the Act guidance that has been issued to date on Ice Miller's Health Care Reform website
This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader must consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances.