Confusion Surrounds Healthcare Subsidies

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By Michelle Madaras

WSIL -- Opposing court decisions are causing confusion about the future of the Affordable Care Act. There's a split over whether people who signed up through the federal marketplace can get help paying for their health insurance.


Healthcare professor Gene Basanta says the issue has to do with the language in the statute.


"Exchange established by the state, what does that mean?" he asked.


A Washington, D.C. appeals court ruled it's illegal for subsidies to come from the federal exchange. Meanwhile, another federal court said subsides from the federal exchange are legal. Basanta says this could put some states, like Illinois, in trouble.


"Illinois has a federal and state partnership exchange, so it's not clear exactly where it would fall," Basanta said.


Jennifer Nance with Jackson County Family Services says losing the subsidies would force many people to drop their new insurance.


"Over the past year, since we've been doing these enrollments, what we've seen is that the majority of the people in our area they are lower income and they do qualify for these subsidies," said Nance.


"For a family of four, I think that's anyone making less than $94,000," Basanta added.


Despite the commotion in the courts, Nance says the Illinois Marketplace is telling their insured to proceed with business as usual for the time being.


"We just don't want them to be worried or thinking that this is going to impact them tomorrow because it's not. It may be further down the line should any change be made."


How far that is, no one is sure. But as of now, the marketplace is set to host another open enrollment period starting November 15.


Basanta said, "We're in the first or second chapter of a fairly long book and any number of things can happen."
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