Smart SpendingSmart Spending

What health care ruling means to you

As a result of the Supreme Court's decision, the individual mandate stands, and insurance companies will be required to sell coverage to everyone, regardless of medical history.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 28, 2012 11:33AM

This post comes from Louise Radnofsky at partner site The Wall Street Journal.


The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyThe Supreme Court said Congress was acting within its powers under the Constitution when it required most Americans to carry health insurance or pay a penalty. It upheld the mandate as a tax, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts.


But the justices found fault with part of the health care law's expansion of Medicaid, a joint federal-state insurance program for the poor. The justices made some changes to the Medicaid portion of the law.  (Post continues below.)

Q: Does this mean the health overhaul law is in place for good?

A: The decision effectively upholds the law for now, but its future depends on which party controls the White House and Congress after elections in November. President Barack Obama and most Democrats consider the law a signature achievement and want to move forward implementing it. Republicans, including presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have pledged to overturn it. They say they would offer an alternative proposal but haven't been specific about what it would include.


Image: United States Supreme Court (© Hisham F Ibrahim/Photodisc Red/Getty Images)Q: What happens to any benefits I already get because of the law?

A: They will stay in place for now. Parents will still be able to keep their children on their insurance plans up to age 26, and Medicare recipients will keep getting discounts on prescription drugs to close a gap in coverage known as the "doughnut hole." New levies under the law, such as the 10% tax on tanning services, also stay put.


Q: When will I see the big changes from the law?

A: Most of the mandates don't start until 2014. That is when most Americans will be required to carry insurance or pay the penalty at issue in the Supreme Court case. The penalty will start at $95 a year or up to 1% of a person's income, whichever is greater.


Tens of millions of Americans are expected to get insurance coverage under the system that starts in 2014. Some of the poorest Americans will become newly qualified to enroll in the federal-state Medicaid program -- although the court appeared to make some changes to how that program will work. Another batch of people who earn more but still have low incomes will get tax credits to offset their insurance costs. Consumers will be able to comparison shop for policies in newly created exchanges that will operate like popular online travel websites.


Insurance companies will have to sell coverage to everyone, regardless of their medical history, and will have to restrict how much they vary premiums based on age. Companies with 50 workers or more will be required to offer insurance to their workers or pay a penalty.


Q: What if I already have insurance?

A: You may see changes to your plan. Unless your employer has "grandfathered" your insurance benefits' structure, your plan will have to meet new regulations under the law, such as covering more preventive services without out-of-pocket costs. There has been speculation that some employers will stop offering coverage and funnel workers toward exchanges once they open, but most companies say they have no immediate plans to do that.

Q: What will happen to my insurance premiums?

A: Most consumers can expect to keep seeing increases in premiums and co-payments because the underlying cost of health care is expected to rise. The law contains a few mechanisms to curb premiums, but it also requires that many insurance providers make their benefits more generous, which will raise their cost. Older people could see their premiums go down because of the new age rating rules insurers will face. People who buy policies without the help of an employer could get a better deal by being able to shop on the exchanges, where comparing plans will be easier than before.


More from The Wall Street Journal and MSN Money:

Jun 28, 2012 12:03PM
Now The Won has his socialist foot hold. All Hail Emperor Obama!!!!!  NOT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Jun 28, 2012 12:46PM
You folks just don't realize what your in for within the next decade, good luck. I'm outta here for good, this not the America that I grew up in. I feel sorry for all you sheep.

Get ready to stand in line at the doctors office for hours (still may not see a doctor and you have to come back tomorrow) and book a stay in your hospital several months in advance like you would a hotel.

Mark these will happen. Just give it a couple of years....if the law stands as is.

Jun 29, 2012 10:16AM
Like all legislation, this is an imperfect reaction to a dire problem we face. Something needs to be done before healthcare bankrupts the country. Lets find a solution, and stop the name calling. We are Americans first and foremost, we have always worked together to solve our problems. Are we no longer capable of that, or has the wooden stake of intolerance impaled the heart of America? Our Health Care System is Broken and we need to fix it. We spend more and get less than any major industrailized country. What is to love about that system? We can do better if we would work togehter.
Jun 29, 2012 11:07PM
I am so glad this bill was confirmed to be constitutional by the folks that charged with determining if something is constitutional or not.  (Instead of FOX news)

I don't see anything wrong with asking people to pay for services they are currently receiving for free.  Right now anyone can just stroll into their local hospital and get treated.  The bill goes unpaid and the cost of healthcare is passed on to us all.  Increasing our insurance premiums or increasing hospital charges to cover the poor or irresponsible. 

Now people have to get insurance to cover themselves.  So what!  How unAmerican is that??!!

I dont want to pay more for my healthcare services to cover those without insurance.  So pay up just like I do every pay period.

Obama is the first president actually trying to change this crappy healthcare system!!  This crappy immigration system, the student loan mess, and housing crisis.  Other people have been rich spoon fed people that dont even understand what is wrong with this system... they just want to continue giving tax breaks to the super wealthy.. and keep oil flowing... regardless of how we have to go to war with to get it!

Jun 30, 2012 10:15AM

Liberals...pause your stupid celebrations and think with your financial brain.

Is it not right to have people pay their own way in his world?  you want a better place to live? Pay for it.  You want a better pair of shoes? Pay for them.

So it follows that all should pay their own way.  Including healthcare recipiants, prisoners, welfare recipiants, everybody.

Yes, prisoners should help pay for their own cost of incarceration.  They rack up a bll, when they get out start to pay it back.  Just like college.  Health care recipiants who use medical services that create a bill, then thye should get on a re-payment plan and work towards paying it off.  People on welfare should be drug tested and positively ID with a retinal scan, then do some sort of [governmet] work, or get more education to help pay back their debt.

Big government should never be the crutch that it is today for people.

Immigration?  Close all borders.  Deport all illegals.  Everybody get in line if you wat to legally get into this country. Never give money or servces to people who come here illegally.  Law enforcement should be able to ask anyone for their passport/ID/documents at anytime.

Jun 28, 2012 3:35PM
Unless we overturn this abortion of a bill, we'll watch our debt soar out of control and begin receiving the same government "care" we get at the post office and DMV.  That is of course if the government "panel" approves treatment.
Jun 29, 2012 9:45PM

I'm just glad that states have an out for the medicaid-increase debacle. That should be priority number one, ie making everyone, including medicaid recipients, pay at least something toward health care. That is if we want a universal system to actually work and be solvent.

Jun 28, 2012 3:03PM
It is uncanny how the stock market ALWAYS reacts in a negative way to everything Obama proposes or approves. The good news is that except for the healthcare nonsense, he has not done too much in more than 3.5 years. Eventually it will be repealed. Count on it.
Jun 29, 2012 8:43PM
Why is our Government so worthless?
Jun 30, 2012 4:23PM
You really need to get the nuts and bolts on this law to see who wins and who loses. The law raised the eligibility limit from 100% to 133% of the poverty level for Medicaid, and told the states that if they didn't do it all Medicaid funding would be cut off. That was declared unconstitutional. SO, you have that additional 33% now in the insurance pool with everyone else. These are the truly poor people. The dividend tax rate for everyone will go from 15% to about 43%. Dividend paying companies may look at restructuring this in the future. Also, how many elderly people may live off this income from prior investments?  Now, the poor and the senoirs are taking a hit. In addition to 500 billon being cut from Medicare and Medicare Advantage payments, it's calculated that this law will raise 420-500 billion in new taxes. All this is in addition to the tax cuts expiring and cuts taking place in Jan. 2013. It's going to be a real mess. Couldn't have timed it all better if he tried. 
Jun 29, 2012 11:26PM
The question is are we going to continue to listen to those who keep spouting off about their socialist doom and gloom crap and "taking the country back", or are we finally going to START trying to solve some of this countries problems?
Jun 30, 2012 12:27PM
If Romney wins the election then America is screwed, period.  Yeah he creates jobs, OVERSEAS, as in he is an outsourcing aficionado.  Wake up America, until we vote, or can even get a REAL American in office/on the ballot we are screwed.  By real American I mean someone who upholds the Constitution, even down to the separation of Church and State.  I believe whole-heartedly in the freedom of religion, I am a religious person, and I recognize that God does not want his children praising false idols(the American Flag).  Religious people who impose legislation based on that particular ideology have plunged this country into the turmoil we face today.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.