The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide by the end of this month whether Affordable Care Act subsidies are legal in Alaska and 33 other states that use the federal health insurance exchange. More than 18,000 people in Alaska could lose subsidies if the court decides in favor of the plaintiffs in the King v. Burwell case. The plaintiffs argue the ACA only allows for subsidies in states that set up their own exchange.
Alaska’s insurance director, Lori Wing-Heier is paying close attention to the issue as she waits for a decision:
“In the meantime we continue to work on our contingency plan, refine our contingency plan, exploring all options and what will be the most feasible for the state and we’ll be able to discuss it in more detail once the opinion is released.”
Wing-Heier says Governor Bill Walker is committed to ensuring that Alaskans who are receiving subsidies won’t lose them. The average subsidy in Alaska is more than $500 each month.
Without the subsidies, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates the cost of the premiums would spike by 500 percent.