ProtectHealth, Las Vegas, June 21, 2021

The Supreme Court today upheld The Affordable Care Act against the Republican challenge led by Texas, the GOP challengers focused on the ObamaCare tax penalty meant to require the purchase of health insurance by most Americans. They argued that Trump’s 2017 tax cut, which zeroed out the penalty made that provision unconstitutional. The justices ruled 7-2 that the GOP challengers lacked standing to sue.

Unless Congress passes a law that reinstates the penalty for not having health insurance, it’s likely that at a Federal level, there won’t be one. Since the penalty was struck down states like California added in their own penalty for individuals who didn’t carry health insurance, however, many other states were waiting for SCOTUS to make a decision on this case before implementing a state-based penalty.

Most of those states will likely move forward now and implement those penalties on the state tax returns for individuals like CA did when the penalty was originally struck down by the Supreme Court.  States that don’t have income tax have said they would likely attach the penalty to the Department of Motor Vehicles and require you to have health insurance when you get your drivers license or license plates or pay a penalty. Some have even said they could potentially suspend automobile registration until proof of insurance could be shown, similar to how all states currently ensure the people carry auto insurance.

Now if you’re saying to yourself, I’m not worried, I life in one of the nine states that have not income tax, don’t get too excited.  In Nevada, Washington, and Hawaii some drafts of such legislation to asses DMV penalties have already been floating around. In other states like South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Wyoming and Florida, no such discussions have taken place, however, like auto insurance mandates, most states usually fall in line shortly after one does. At some time in the not-so-distant future, you’ll likely have to show proof of auto and individual health insurance at the DMV every year in order to register your car.

If that sounds bad, it’s not even the worst part. If someone doesn’t have insurance, we already know that the Emergency Rooms are required to treat people no matterr what. Since the mandate changed in 2017, medical faclities have treated people more extensively than they might normally do, simply because of the insurance situation. Doctors and specialists were providing larger cash pay discounts, and agreeing to see poeple without insurance. Even emergency rooms were offering more care, and admitting more people without insurance. 

Very soon this will likely all be changing back, and emergency rooms around the US will begin to return to a “Treat them, street them” mentality. They will return to doing only  what is required to make sure you’re not in emergent danger, then release you with a referral to a specialist outside the hospital.  The real problem is, this will start becoming increasingly harder to do without insurance as well because most doctors and specialists will start to refused patients who have no insurance. Many won’t have a choice, as their medical malpractice insurance will likely prevent them from doing so.

The really good news here is that President Biden signed the American Resuce Plan Act in March, and those changes are now part of the health insurance purchase process.  More than half of the US population now pays under $50 a month for their insurance, and over 30% pay a $0 premium. If you’re still not insured, now is the time to do so. The ARPA Enrollment Period is open until August 15. Don’t miss your chance, click CONTACT US at the top, and talk to a broker today about becoming insured.