The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday, March 2, that it will again review the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, and whether, if the mandate is unconstitutional, it can be separated from the rest of the ACA.
In January’s blog, we reported that in Texas v. U.S., the individual mandate of ACA, the requirement for all individuals to be covered by health insurance, was found by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to be unconstitutional. Originally, the district court found that since the individual mandate was essential to ACA, the entire Act was unconstitutional. On December 18, 2019, the court of appeals affirmed that the individual mandate was unconstitutional, but it did not uphold the decision to strike down the entire ACA. The court remanded that aspect of the case back to the federal district court to determine whether the mandate can be severed from the rest of ACA.
On January 3, certain Democratic states’ attorneys general and the U.S. House of Representatives, defending ACA, filed petitions requesting that the Supreme Court weigh in on the constitutionality of the mandate, as well as the viability of the remainder of ACA.
The Republican states’ attorneys general, along with the Trump administration, filed a petition with the Supreme Court requesting that the Court not hear the case. The petition also requested that if the Court does hear the case, that it affirm the district court’s decision overturning the entire ACA.
While the timing of when the Court will hear the case is not completely clear, it is likely to be in the next term, beginning in October. Earlier in the current term, the Court declined to hear the case on an expedited basis. Therefore, any decision in the case is unlikely to come until after the Presidential election this fall.
As we previously stated, employers should continue to comply with ACA, including the requirement for large employers (over 50 full-time employees) to provide affordable insurance to its full-time employees and report such coverage to the IRS (Form 1095-C). All other ACA provisions, such as guaranteed issue, no annual or lifetime limits, age 26 coverage for adult children, etc., remain in effect.