With much news about a Texas Judge declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional last Friday, many people that had signed up for the affordable health insurance are wondering where all of this leaves them.
The simple answer is: If you signed up by the deadline on Saturday, you are covered for 2019, no matter what.
The Texas Judge’s decision to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional was more a political move than anything else. The Texas led coalition of 20 states that brought this on did their challenge before a friendly Texas court. It is a first step for them in their war to kill the Affordable Care Act. The Judge did not issue an injunction to stop the federal government from enforcing the current A.C.T. program, and now, the legal system will run its course, likely over several months. First, the Judge’s decision will be challenged by another group of states who want to keep the health care system in place. They will likely be led by California, where their Attorney General has already said they planned to appeal the Texas Judge’s ruling. This will all take some time, especially since it will likely get back to the Supreme Court again. The Supreme Court has ruled twice before in favor of the A.C.A. when the Texas led coalition had been before them. Evidently, the coalition assumes that the new appointees to the Court will cause the ruling to be different this time.
All of this will take some time, and the A.C.A. will be in full force until the legal fights finally end.
Now, the likely logic behind all this is to starve out the program under the A.C.A. as it is bringing about fewer signups because of the negative publicity and uncertainty. In addition to that, the penalty for not having some sort of health insurance has been killed by the legislature, and the White House killed funding for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid advertising and publication programs. All of this will certainly bring about an eventual strangulation of the A.C.A..
The side effects of all this now become important. When the rules of the A.C.A. are in effect, some regulations are applied to everyone’s health insurance companies. Even if you subscribe to a health insurance plan that has nothing to do with the marketplace system, the A.C.A. rules say that no insurance company can discriminate (refuse coverage or charge extra, etc.) for a person with a pre-existing condition such as diabetes, asthma, cancer, heat condition, etc.
Without the above A.C.A. rule, millions of Americans may find themselves with unaffordable health insurance plans. There are many other ramifications of what is now going on and some of that may be felt next year.
But, if you are already covered with a 2019 health insurance plan…you’re good! …for now anyway.