Supreme Court to hear Obamacare subsidy challenge; Fewer than 10 million projected to be enrolled in the program by end of 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed last Friday to hear a new challenge to Obamacare over tax credits awarded in 36 states that subsidize health insurance purchased by people on the federal exchange.
On the heels of the new challenge, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that they now believe fewer than 10 million will be enrolled in Obamacare plans by the end of 2015, which is about 30% fewer than the Congressional Budget Office had previously projected.
In the new Supreme Court challenge (which is a hot topic on this thread on Insurance Forums), at issue is the four-word phrase in the Obamacare law that says people qualify for tax credits when they buy insurance in an exchange “established by the state.” Of course, only 14 states set up their own exchanges while the remaining 36 rely on the federal exchange.
The IRS has ruled that tax credits are allowed whether the exchange is run by a state or the federal government, but the Court will review a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the IRS decision on the matter. In the 34 states relying on the federal exchange, more than 4.5 million people are receiving subsidies covering 76% of the premiums on average that would be illegal if the Court overturns the appeals court ruling.
The case is expected to be argued in early March, with a ruling expected by the end of June.
• Read the full article here
• Join the discussion: High Court to hear challenge to health law subsidies
In related news, HHS officials announced Monday they now believe that only between 9 and 9.9 million people will be enrolled in Obamacare plans by the end of 2015. That’s nearly 30% below the 13 million that the CBO had previously projected.
As Forum members are keenly aware, open enrollment for 2015 plans begins Saturday. More new Obamacare stats, courtesy of a CNBC report posted on Monday:
• HHS also said it now appears that it will take longer—perhaps quite a bit longer—than 2017 to reach a "steady state" of 25 million Obamacare enrollees that CBO had been projecting for 2017 enrollment.
• HHS also said Monday that there are about 7.1 million people currently enrolled in Obamacare plans.
• HHS said it assumes that 83% of current enrollees, or 5.9 million people, will renew coverage for 2015.
• The department also said that by the close of open enrollment on Feb. 15, it expects a total of between 10.3 million and 11.2 million will be signed up for Obamacare plans, but expects that number to drift lower by the end of 2015.
• By the close of open enrollment last April, there were about 8.1 million people enrolled in Obamacare plans. That number has fallen by about 1 million since then, as result of people either failing to pay their premiums, obtaining insurance elsewhere, being removed from the insurance rolls because they lacked proof of citizenship or legal immigration status, or other reasons.
• Read the CNBC article here.
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