June 19th, 2012 – The Supreme Court currently has a slim majority of 5 Republican appointees, who together could strike down the entire Federal Health Reform Law.
All the conservative justices signaled in their comments a serious unease with the healthcare reform’s requirement provision that nearly all Americans to have health insurance starting in 2014. Whether they will unite to strike down the entire law remains to be seen and the final decision is not expected until late this month.
According to a new article by the Chicago Tribune, if the Supreme Court overturns the Federal Health Reform Law, there could be immediate changes to the health insurance landscape. They said that the following benefits could immediately end:
- Preventive healthcare benefits including free coverage for mammograms and birth control.
- Restrictions barring insurers from denying coverage to children because of pre-existing medical conditions.
- Young adult children being allowed to remain on their parents’ medical insurance coverage until age 26.
- An end to lifetime limits imposed by insurers on the dollar value of benefits available to people with serious medical conditions.
- For beneficiaries of the Medicare program for the elderly stuck in the prescription drug benefit coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole,” a 50 percent discount on covered brand-name drugs and 14 percent savings on generic drugs.
- A requirement that insurance companies justify unreasonably large healthcare premium increases.
- Tax credits for small employers with no more than 25 employees and average annual wages of less than $50,000 that provide health insurance for employees.
- Temporary insurance coverage programs for retirees who are over age 55 but not eligible for Medicare.
- Temporary insurance coverage for adults with pre-existing medical conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months.
- A requirement that health plans report the proportion of premium dollars spent on clinical services, quality, and other costs, and provide rebates to consumers if the share of the premium spent on clinical services and quality is less than 85 percent in the large group market and 80 percent in the individual and small group markets.
Commonly referred to as healthcare reform or Obamacare, the law being reviewed by the Supreme Court is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which was signed into law by President Obama on March 23rd, 2010.