What we can learn from the contradictory Obamacare subsidy rulings?

The two conflicting judgments over subsidies have created quite a stir amongst the public and within the industry. While many are worried about the fluid nature of the healthcare reform and the uncertainties it brings with it, others are already on the lookout for safer, more concrete options.

The judgments – On July 22, 2014:

“A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a major part of the federal health-care law, ruling that the insurance subsidies that help millions of Americans pay for coverage are illegal in three dozen states.

Less than two hours later, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond, handed down a contradictory ruling on the issue in a separate case, raising the possibility of yet another high-stakes battle over the law playing out before the Supreme Court.”

Why we should be concerned about the fluid nature of the subsidies?

• Subsidies, in the form of tax credits, are a major element of the health care law. Without them, many consumers would be unable to afford coverage and could be exempted from the “individual mandate” to have insurance.

• If the D.C. decision is upheld, it will have wide-ranging consequences for states that declined to set up their own marketplaces.

• The ruling would affect 27 states, most with Republican leaders who oppose the health-care law, and nine states that partly opted out of setting up marketplaces. Those states are instead being served by the federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov.

• According to federal figures, about 9 in 10 people in states relying on the federal marketplace bought health plans with the help of the subsidies. The law “does not authorize the I.R.S. to provide tax credits for insurance purchased on federal exchanges,” the DC panel said. “It plainly makes subsidies available only on exchanges established by states.”

• At least two other cases on subsidies are pending in federal district courts, in Oklahoma and Indiana.

Private Exchanges – the smart, secure alternative

Private Exchanges are not impacted by the rulings today or in the future, and provide a stable, easy to use option for purchasing health care and risk related products.

Consumers are looking to cover themselves, their families and employeesusingstraight forward tools to purchase cost effective health care products. At benefitalign, our Private Exchange Solutions offer simple, yet powerful options to provide millions of Americans shopping on a Health Care Exchange a viable alternative.

The Benefitalign Private Exchange Solution supports both single and multicarrier options and can tightly integrate ancillary products for a seamless shopping experience. It is a complete online portal for finding health insurance coverage. We help consumers compare health insurance quotes and purchase individual coverage online, through an agent network, or directly through health insurance providers. But the Benefitalign private exchange solution provides more than just the front end – our platform provides a complete end to end Private Exchange Solution including legacy system integration.

Our out of the box solution can be rapidly customized to support unique products, eligibility and funding models including defined contributions for your group clients.With a modular design, the Benefitalign Private Exchange Solution offers the flexibility to fit within your organization and grow with you while still providing solid foundation.