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On July 22nd, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit announced its decision that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) does not authorize government subsidies for health insurance purchased on federal, as opposed to, state, exchanges. Because only fourteen states and the District of Columbia set up their own state exchanges, the federal government stepped in to provide exchanges (which are basically markets where health insurance can be sold) in the remaining thirty-six states. 

This is potentially bad news for anyone in one of those thirty-six states who purchased or might want to purchase in the future affordable health insurance. But it is important for Californians to note that this decision does not apply to us. California is one of the states that set up its own exchange - Covered California. If you purchased insurance through Covered California for yourself or your family, and you qualified for premium assistance, your coverage and your subsidy are not affected by this decision.

The Obama administration will appeal the court's decision, so we haven't yet heard the last word on this matter. And to further enliven an already lively situation, just a few hours after the D.C. Court of Appeals issued its decision, a different appellate court (the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit) came to the opposite conclusion in a similar case, approving subsidies on the federal exchanges.

On a personal note, I am reminded of the many mind-numbing hours that I spent earlier this year on the Covered California website or on the phone with its over-whelmed employees trying to get information and insurance coverage for anxious clients. The system was dysfunctional for a very long time. Many of you probably experienced the same frustration. But with persistence and effort, I was eventually able to obtain coverage for all of the eligible clients who came to me for assistance. And with today's court decision we can be very glad that California was one of the relatively few states that decided to set up its own state exchange and persisted in making it work through all of its birth pains. Our neighbors to the north in Oregon organized a state exchange, saw it flounder in its early days, and eventually abandoned it in favor of the federal exchange. Oregonians are likely to suffer as a result.

Contact Alex Pfeifer, at Pfeifer Insurance Brokers, at 650-762-8070 or alex@pfeiferins.com, for al of your insurance needs.
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