CUNA Mutual Analyzes Supreme Court Health Insurance Ruling
In a YouTube video offered by CUNAMutual, Pricer said that most credit unions, like just about every other type of U.S. employer, were waiting to hear the court's ruling before implementing the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But the compliance requirements have been effectively put on hold for two years, Pricer said. It's time to start moving forward, he advised.
"If you've been waiting to see if the court was going to throw it out, now is the time to work with brokers and consultants and take stock with what you have done or what you might need to do going forward," Pricer said.
CUNA Mutual provides a timeline for credit unions to get up to speed on the legislation. Use the link.
The court's 5-4 ruling was based on the power of Congress to impose taxes, according to Reuters (June 28). It preserved the law's "individual mandate" requiring that most Americans obtain health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax. The justices also preserved, with some changes, a provision of the law expanding the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the biggest overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system in about 50 years. It was signed by Obama in March 2010 and tested in the courts by 26 of the 50 U.S. states and a trade group for small businesses.
Regardless of which side of the fence healthcare law watchers were leaning, Pricer said Thursday's ruling does provide opportunities for credit unions and other employers.
He specifically mentioned the rise of private health insurance exchanges. The new healthcare law will require each state to put in place health insurance exchanges or have the federal government put in place an exchange for them. Government exchanges are likely to provide employees and employers with limited choices for healthcare. Private exchanges will offer much richer choices for employees or employers, Pricer said.
The new law will likely allow credit unions to change how they fund healthcare offerings to employees, he said. Instead of the traditional defined benefits approach, through which an employer offers one or two plans with likely annual cost increases, exchanges will provide employers the flexibility to provide employees with a set amount of dollars to make their own healthcare own choices.
"This will make budgeting [for credit unions] much easier on a year-over-year basis," Pricer said.