The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold subsidies related to the Affordable Care Act means the law is here to stay. Though the ACA is certainly controversial, the decision means the expertise advisers have already developed will continue to be valuable for their clients.
It “lifts a veil of uncertainty and shifts the focus for advisers and their employer clients back to compliance with the Affordable Care Act,” Melissa Winn writes for Employee Benefit Adviser. That focus must be on continuing to reach compliance and reporting requirements, and brokers will be able to continue to add value in these areas.
“It’s keeping everything status quo for plan sponsors and their advisers,” Winn writes, quoting Julie Stich, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ director of research. “Employers and their advisers are going to return to looking at upcoming provisions and administrative measures — gathering information, reporting on the 1094 or 1095 forms and looking at new tweaks to the summary of benefits coverage. Employers are also looking ahead to the 2018 Cadillac tax.”
The Supreme Court’s decision effectively ends ACA’s day in court, writes Dennis Thompson for HealthDay.com, and that will bring some stability. “Now that insurers know that Obamacare isn’t going away, they can begin making business decisions based on the law, allowing it to become the stable operating platform for insurance in this country,” Thompson writes, quoting Dan Mendelson, CEO of Avalere Health, a healthcare advisory firm. “It sends the message to insurance companies that they can invest in this system and it will be durable, at least for the next few years.”
But it won’t all be stable, at least in the near future, according to a story in the Bangor Daily News. Changes could be coming to state exchanges. “Even the success stories are having difficulties — Washington’s and Minnesota’s exchange are experiencing substantial information technology problems,” and some states may be experiencing financial trouble, as well, according to the Daily News story.
“As more of the financial burden falls on state exchanges, and by extension state governments, most states are likely to say, ’Why bother?’,” according to the story. “Now that the Supreme Court has opened subsidies to all qualifying U.S. residents regardless of where they live, expect the state exchange to be a rare sight down the road.”
As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, brokers should seize this opportunity to touch base with clients and demonstrate expertise, Winn writes. “It is important that brokers alert their clients about the ruling and what it means for them and their employees,” she writes, quoting Don Goldmann, the incoming president of the National Association of Health Underwriters.