March 06, 2015

King v. Burwell Supreme Court Case: Affordable Care Act Hangs in the Balance

Continued access to affordable health insurance for many early retirees is at stake as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Wednesday in the case of King v. Burwell, a lawsuit challenging provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The suit claims that it is illegal for the government to issue tax credits for insurance policies purchased on federal health insurance exchanges.

Millions of people in 34 states could lose the federal subsidies that help deray the cost of private insurance through if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs. Governors in those 34 states have chosen not to set up their own state exchanges, joining the national exchange instead. Those subsidies reduce monthly premiums by as much as 89%. To learn more, go to

“Before the ACA, Americans who retired without employer-sponsored insurance and before they were eligible for Medicare were entirely at the mercy of insurance companies,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. “Early retirees could be denied coverage altogether, or saw their life savings dwindle because of exorbitant premiums available in the individual market.”

Seniors watching the King v. Burwell case closely include Bonnie Mathias, 57, of Dallas, Texas, a member of the Texas Alliance. Prior to the ACA, Ms. Mathias went without health insurance when the monthly premium for her retiree plan skyrocketed from $86 to $1,300 per month for Bonnie and her husband. Once she became part of the national health care exchange, however, the couple was able to obtain subsidized coverage for $211 per month.

“Older Americans are at an extreme disadvantage when they are forced to fend for themselves in finding health care coverage,” said Mr. Fiesta. “The federal health care exchange addresses that problem in a way that no alternative plan even comes close to matching.”

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Topics: Affordable Care Act

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