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Cheap health insurance and the Supreme Court

With only a few weeks to go before the Supreme Court announces its decision on whether Obamacare is constitutional, the question is whether you should renew you insurance cover for the next twelve months. If the Court strikes down the entire law, insurers would go back to their practices before the President signed the Affordable Care Act. Since this could mean a sharp rise in premiums and/or policies being cancelled because you have a pre-existing condition, is it worth trying to lock in twelve months of cover now?

Informed opinion seems to be that the Court will say only the mandate is unconstitutional. This could retain the rule that insurers cannot refuse insurance on the ground of a pre-existing condition. When this happened in Washington, premium rates went up like a rocket and the rule on pre-existing conditions had to be removed. Faced with this experience, the Court may strike down both rules together. Perhaps the same will happen to the rule that, up to the age of 26, people can stay on their parent's health insurance plans. If all these people are suddenly uninsured, costs will rise. In this, you should remember insurance companies have a right to cancel cover if you have a pre-existing condition. So renewing now will not help you. But if you renew now and the law does revert to pre-Obamacare, the insurer cannot cancel the cover of healthy people under 26. Renewal would therefore protect your children for twelve months.

The big unknown is what would happen if all the refunds and subsidies awarded under Obamacare were to disappear. Many people eligible for help would suddenly find renewal unaffordable. If there was a sudden drop in the number of people paying for their insurance, the health insurance quotes for the remainder would rise sharply. Having locked in the current payment installments for the next twelve months could give you a cushion against these rises. So over to you. A timely renewal could avoid the health insurance quotes rising immediately after the Court's decision.


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