Affordable Care Act Update

0822/11. On August 12, 2011, a three judge panel of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta struck down the individual mandate within the Affordable Care Act, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2014. Earlier, in June, 2011, the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati had upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the ACA. These conflicting Circuit Court decisions increase the likelihood that the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately decide the constitutionality of the individual mandate within the next 18 months. A few points to keep in mind:

  • The August decision relates only to the individual mandate provision of the ACA; other provisions of the ACA remain intact.
  • A third challenge is pending in the 4th Circuit in Richmond, with a decision expected soon.
  • How quickly the case goes before the Supreme Court depends on the next steps taken by the Obama Administration. Should the Administration request that the full 11th Circuit Court review the decision of the three judge panel, then a decision by the full 11th Circuit Court might not come until sometime in 2012, possibly delaying Supreme Court review until late in 2012 or in 2013.

How does this decision impact student health insurance plans? Right now, it does not. Because the individual mandate does not go into effect until 2014 and nothing in the decision affects the other provisions of the ACA, implementation of the ACA will proceed.

ACHA will keep its members apprised as developments with the ACA occur.