Supreme Court agrees to review insurers’ lawsuit over Obamacare payments

Supreme Court agrees to review insurers’ lawsuit over Obamacare payments

The insurers have argued that the ruling would allow the government to pull a "bait-and-switch" and withhold money they were promised.

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from health insurance companies who say the federal government owes them $12 billion from losses sustained under the Affordable Care Act.

The justices will hear an charm by a neighborhood of insurers of a decrease court docket ruling that Congress had suspended the federal government's responsibility to produce the funds.

The law, dubbed Obamacare, has enabled millions of Americans who previously had not medical coverage to obtain insurance.

Insurers at the side of Moda, Blue Unpleasant and Blue Protect of North Carolina, Maine Team Effectively being Alternatives and Land of Lincoln Mutual Effectively being Insurance protection Firm sued the federal government after it failed to pay them money they acknowledged they were owed.

Robert Gootee, chief executive of Moda Inc, said he was encouraged that the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

In its petition, the association says that had insurers known they wouldn't get full risk corridor payments, they might have charged consumers more money or not offered plans on the Obamacare exchanges at all.

Under the program, insurers whose premiums exceeded expenses in the first three years of the program would have to pay some of the profit to the federal government. Originally, the program was not required to pay for itself, but, in a 2015 funding bill, congressional Republicans prohibited the Health and Human Services department from using any of its other resources for the program.

Given that, health insurers should not have chose to sell insurance on the Obamacare exchange based on an expectation that they would receive the payments, the federal government alleges.

FILE PHOTO: A police officer walks by columns at the Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., October 9, 2018.

The cases stem from so-called risk corridor payments that the government said it would pay commercial health insurers under the Affordable Care Act to compensate them for losses from covering people with chronic conditions and pre-existing conditions.

In its response to the health plans' petition, the US government argued that a Government Accountability Office report identified only two possible sources of funding for the risk corridor payments: (1) the funds collected by HHS under the program itself, and (2) any lump-sum appropriation to manage certain Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services programs.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled 2-1 a year ago that Congress, in passing the appropriations riders, implicitly repealed its statutory obligation to pay the insurers. "The insurers appealed, arguing that Supreme Court precedents require much more explicit legislative language to eliminate a previously adopted payment obligation".



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