A federal court in Washington DC ruled Tuesday that Obamacare subsidies are illegal. Utah is among 36 states that would potentially be affected by this ruling, but for now, Utahns will continue to receive those subsidies.
The panel of D.C. Circuit judges ruled that the Affordable Care Act does not allow individuals to receive subsidies if they bought their insurance on the federal marketplace. While Utah has a state-based marketplace for small businesses, more than 84,000 Utahns have signed up for insurance on the federal exchange, and at least 72,000 of them are currently receiving subsidies. But Jason Stevenson of the Utah Health Policy Project says this ruling should not affect them.
“People should not worry about this,” Stevenson says. “This is not a roadblock for consumers in terms of going out and using the medical care that they need. A court decision in Virginia or Washington DC really shouldn’t affect, you know, when you get sick - whether or not you can go and see a doctor here in Utah.”
In Utah, a family of four with household income up to 90,000 dollars can potentially qualify for subsidies. The average subsidy is more than 150 dollars per month. The Obama administration has indicated that it will appeal the DC circuit ruling. Meanwhile, a 4th Circuit ruling in a separate case concluded that subsidies are allowed through both federal and state marketplaces. Stevenson says the legal process will likely take at least a year to be resolved.