Are You Prepared for the Supreme Court Ruling on the ACA?

Physicians and patients around the country may face medical insurance chaos in late June, when the US Supreme Court is expected to rule on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.”

According to various news organizations, opponents of the ACA are challenging specific wording in one portion of the law, which they say does not allow the federal government to subsidize ACA health insurance in states that have not created medical insurance “marketplaces.”

Because of the intense political rancor involved in the ACA, more than 30 states have not set up health insurance markets. If the court rules in favor of the challenge to the ACA, an estimated 9.3 million people would have to find new insurance—if they can afford it.

What Physicians Are Doing to Prepare for Possible Upheaval

 If the ACA is essentially overturned, you and your patients may be left scrambling to find a solution, unless your state’s legislators already are putting plans in place to deal with that potential outcome.

According to Reuters news service, many doctors in the affected states—unfortunately some of the country’s most populous ones, such as Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—have taken steps to ensure that their patients continue to receive care.

For example, Reuters reported that it has talked with physicians who have changed their schedules to fit in—before the court’s ruling—preventative-care appointments and an assortment of complex procedures for patients who would be affected. Additionally, some doctors apparently have taken steps to be sure their sickest patients, such as cancer patients already undergoing treatment, have free medical care available to them.

Physicians and the ACA: What You Can Do Now

There are several actions you can take now to be better prepared for a court ruling that might go against the ACA.

  • Ask your pharmaceutical representatives if their companies will make discounted drugs available.
  • Contact your local legislators to find out if they have taken any action to mitigate possible loss of insurance for many of your patients. If they have taken steps, be prepared to adapt to them.
  • Make your patients and staff aware of the possible effects of the court ruling, so they know what to expect.
  • If you’re comfortable doing so, obtain any information you can find about free medical care and health clinics to assist your newest clients, who were able to afford insurance under the ACA, but may not be able to in the future.

As history has shown, it’s difficult to predict US Supreme Court rulings, so the court ruling may not affect the ACA at all. However, advance preparation can help your practice make its way through the aftermath with the least amount of negative impact on your patients and your practice.