Affordable Care Act tax credits upheld by U.S. Supreme Court

Posted on: 7/1/15

The U.S. Supreme Court, in the King v. Burwell case, upheld the tax credits for individuals participating in the Affordable Care Act. By a vote of six to three, the Court agreed with the Obama administration that the subsidies are available for everyone who bought health insurance through an exchange, whether that exchange was created by a state or the federal government. The Court’s decision to uphold the subsidies allowed more than 87,000 Oklahomans to continue to purchase affordable health. OHA has argued that the state should accept federal funds to extend health coverage to the 150,000 low-income, working Oklahomans in a “coverage crater” because they make too much to qualify for Soonercare (Medicaid), but not enough to receive subsidies on the federal marketplace.

According to the Oklahoma Policy Institute, 126,115 Oklahomans enrolled in ACA Marketplace health plans for 2015, which was an 80 percent increase over the 69,221 enrollees for 2014. The majority (54 percent) were new to the Marketplace, demonstrating growing interest in Healthcare.gov among Oklahomans. For most Oklahomans purchasing insurance on Healthcare.gov, premium tax credits played a significant role in making that insurance affordable. Seventy-nine percent of enrollees (100,039 Oklahomans) received tax credits based on income and other qualifying factors. On average, the tax credit reduced the monthly premium paid by consumers from $295 to $89 – a 70 percent reduction.

For a plain English explanation of the ruling in King v. Burwell, the SCOTUS website offers a good analysis. (Sandra Harrison)

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