A recent court ruling on the Affordable Care Act has left people confused about the future of their health care coverage. What does it mean, who does it impact and more importantly, what’s next? On December 14, the ACA was ruled unconstitutional by a federal district court judge in Texas. It followed a 2017 Congressional and Presidential action to eliminate the individual mandate penalty, which required most Americans to maintain basic health coverage or pay a tax. In 2019, the mandate will no longer be an enforceable tax, which the judge used as a basis for his ruling. The court concluded the individual mandate was “essential to” and “inseverable” from the rest of the law, making the entire ACA invalid. Despite the decision, there are no immediate plans to disrupt ACA coverage. The White House communicated this immediately following the ruling. The ACA will remain in effect throughout 2019 as the case moves forward with the appeals process. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan members can be assured that their 2019 individual plans are not changing. Any financial assistance they receive for those plans remains in place, and patients will continue to obtain the care they need. Members with Blue Cross coverage should maintain their health plans by paying their January premiums on time and continue managing their plans in the same way as before. It’s important to remember the reasons for maintaining health coverage. It offers life-saving preventative care through screenings, immunizations, and regular check-ups. Many covered medical services can lead to the early detection and treatment of severe or possibly terminal conditions. It also provides reassurance during medical emergencies such as accidents or sudden illnesses. Health coverage is a vital resource that protects the health, finances and overall well-being of everyone who has it. Blue Cross’ core principle is that all people, including those with pre-existing medical conditions, should have access to quality health coverage no matter who they are or where they live. This hasn’t changed in our 80 years in business – including decades before the ACA mandated that all insurers cover pre-existing conditions. The ACA has had many positive impacts on health care, including the required essential benefits that now cover preventive care services and allows children to stay on a family plan to the age of 26. As the court case moves through the appeals process, we will continue to work with lawmakers on a bipartisan basis to ensure all Michigan residents have access to consistent, high-quality health coverage. In the meantime, we remain committed and available to help our members manage their health, and their health plans, in the way that best meets their individual needs. Photo credit: Fat Camera
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