After Health-Care Ruling: Moving On

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Dentists during the Remote Area Medical (RAM) free clinic in Oakland, California.

A ruling on health-care is near.

Yet big health insurers aren’t waiting for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that not only will have an impact on the presidential election campaign underway. It also will determine who — insurance companies, policy-holders and the uninsured — must do what in the years ahead.

Three of the top five U.S. health insurers already have signaled that many of the changes wrought by the 2010 health-care overhaul that President Barack Obama won over Republican objections are here to stay, even if the Supreme

Court tosses the law, as Bloomberg’s Alex Wayne reports today.

And a majority of employers plan to continue providing health care coverage for employees in 2014 when the health care law’s “play or pay” provisions take effect, according to a survey this week by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, as Bloomberg BNA reports today.

Nearly half — 46.2 percent — in the survey said they will continue to provide coverage to employees in 2014, and 39.3 percent said they are “very likely” to do so, BNA notes of the IFEBP report: “Health Care Reform: 2012 Employer Actions Update.”

Almost half of employers surveyed — 47.2 percent — said they are focused on implementing the provisions of the health care law, while 39.1 percent indicated they are in the process of developing “tactics to deal with the implications of reform.”

UnitedHealth Group Inc., Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. said this week they would save some of the law’s most popular provisions, including allowing young adults to remain on their parent’s insurance plans, even if the court rejects the law for its requirement that most Americans obtain insurance or pay a penalty.

“One way or another, some of these pieces will either be re-instituted or remain in effect through the actions of the private marketplace,” Mike Tuffin, who represented insurers as executive vice president at America’s Health Insurance Plan while the law was being negotiated, told Bloomberg’s Wayne.

So how now, the court?

The last scheduled day of rulings in this term is Jan. 25 — though the court could extend the period a few days into the last week of the month to push out its final rulings. That’s the date that court-watchers count on for the health-care ruling.

How Obama and Republican Mitt Romney handle the ruling, you won’t find in a survey.

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