LYONS, NE – Thursday, the United States Supreme Court announced their decision upholding the tax subsidies provided to help low and middle income people purchase individual health insurance plans through a federal exchange, or health insurance marketplace, provided for in the Affordable Care Act. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion in the 6-to-3 decision.

The case focused on the creation of a federal health insurance exchange that provides access to a health insurance marketplace, and tax subsidies, for qualified individuals that reside in states that did not create their own state exchanges.

“We applaud the Supreme Court for making the right decision, and preserving the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that have been so crucial in providing access to more affordable health care coverage to millions of Americans. And now it’s time to get on with providing affordable healthcare coverage for everyone and finishing the job of expanding Medicaid for over 77,000 low-income Nebraskans who fall into the current Medicaid gap.” John Crabtree, Center for Rural Affairs.

“The Supreme Court made the right decision,” said John Crabtree of the Center for Rural Affairs. “The Court focused on interpreting the intent of Congress, which was to create a health insurance marketplace for every eligible American, either through state exchanges or a federal exchange, and provide incentives for low and moderate income families to help make their insurance coverage more affordable.”

According to Crabtree, nationally, 85 percent of consumers who have used the exchanges to shop for health care coverage have qualified for subsidies to offset some of the cost of their individual health insurance policies. And in 37 states, those consumers have accessed those subsidies through the federal exchange in one form or another – in 19 states the exchange available to residents was provided through a partnership in which the state utilized the federal exchange but retained varying degrees of exchange management.

“Not only did the Supreme Court avoid putting the nation’s health care system into chaos, the decision protects the progress we have made as a nation in providing affordable health insurance coverage for the millions of Americans who were uninsured prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act,” Crabtree added. “More than 57,000 Nebraskans received tax credits to make their health coverage more affordable as of this year. More than 42,000 Montanans also received tax credits, as well as 6.5 million Americans nationally.”

Crabtree explained that In Nebraska, the average monthly insurance plan premium, after tax credits, is $97 for individuals purchasing plans through the exchange,” Crabtree added. In Montana, after tax credits, the average monthly premium is $116 for policies purchased through the exchange. For 34 other federal exchange states the monthly premium after tax credits averages $272.

“Clearly the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces are working, and making health insurance more affordable for families that utilize the health insurance marketplace,” Crabtree continued. “And those individuals would have seen their premiums increase by nearly 450 percent in Nebraska, nearly 350 percent in Montana, and nearly 500 percent in the remaining federal exchange states if the Supreme Court decision had gone the other way.”

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