Brokers respond to SCOTUS decision

Upheld by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land. Employee Benefit brokers and consultants across the country react and share their plans for moving forward.

Perry Braun, executive director, Benefit Advisors Network, Cleveland

The Supreme Court of the United States has released its opinion that the health care reform legislation is constitutional and the market — defined as employer, individuals, provider health systems, individual States and insurance markets — has a clearer understanding of the future.

Some individuals, they have been in a holding pattern, waiting to see what direction this was going to take before implementing their plans. Still for others, this decision raises more questions and issues that will have to be addressed.


For example, now that the Court has concluded that the law is constitutional, for the many states that have not invested in, nor put into place an exchange, the guidance within the law is that an exchange must be operational by 2014. How the state will comply by the timeframes outlined, how employers within that state will adjust their plans, how individuals will purchase health insurance products with an expectation that an exchange is available to them are just a few of the questions that fall out of this ruling. For some, the short term will represent a stressful time.


For these states that have not implemented an exchange, they will need to assess the timeline and tasks in order to operationalize an exchange by the 2014 deadline. One option for those states that have yet to implement an exchange could be to partner with a state or entity that has an operating exchange.


For the consumers, there are several questions to triage through: One, what are my options? Second, how do I receive information to make an informed choice — through my employer; the insurance market; state government; or the federal government? Where should the consumer start?


Many will be wondering how the ruling will impact the economy, which remains sluggish. It is probable that companies will remain in a holding pattern on hiring, investing in people, plant and equipment while the employer implements the remaining administrative, reporting and compliance requirements of the Act and what is expected to be additional administrative expense.


The Act was attempting to attack the rising cost of health care and is focused on only one side of the equation — supply of services and reimbursement. Insurance market reform, reforming and regulating the distribution and marketing, as well as regulating the development of insurance premiums and how you reimburse and compensate providers are not the only aspect of the cost equation. The Act does not address the demand side of the equation, which is where an equal amount of attention should be given.




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