Supreme Court ruling only one factor in health insurance decisions

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By Trudy Lieberman
Special to The SUN

At the end of its 2014-15 term, the Supreme Court decided that the key component of the Affordable Care Act — the tax subsidies available to help people buy health insurance — would continue in all states.

Justices addressed a challenge that the subsidies were legal only in the 17 states that ran their own shopping exchanges and not in the rest that chose to use the marketplaces operated by the federal government.

That’s good news for the more than 6 million Americans whose subsidies were in doubt. The government’s own statistics make clear that most of these people would not be able to buy coverage without the extra help.

The law was aimed at providing health insurance primarily for the poor and near poor, and the government’s numbers show that, indeed, people in those groups are buying policies on the exchanges and qualifying for subsidies. This year, 87 percent of ACA enrollees qualified for subsidies, which averaged $263 a person for the year in the states with federally run exchanges. For many, that sum substantially reduced their premiums. Losing the subsidies would have thrown these people back into the ranks of the uninsured.

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