How the health care decision could impact your coverage

LITTLE ROCK, AR – Wednesday, FOX16 visited DataPath, a Little Rock-based software company that works with employee benefit plans, to find out how Thursday’s health care decision could impact your health insurance coverage.

“They could say that it’s all constitutional and everything is good the way it is,”says DataPath C.E.O. John Robbins.

That means the 19-percent of Arkansans without insurance will have to opt in or face fines.

People who use cafeteria plans would also be impacted.

“Starting next year, flexible spending accounts will be limited to $2500 a year as an election whereas there has not been a cap in the past,” says Robbins.

Then there’s scenario two.

“Part of the bill is determined to be unconstitutional,” says Robbins.

DataPath’s Robbins thinks the part most likely to go is the individual mandate.

“Since people won’t have to buy insurance until they need it, it’s gonna be tough for insurance carriers and health plans to be able to pay for the expenses since they don’t have any premiums to be able to charge before that,” he says.

He says that means your premiums could go up. and, the court could also strike down part of the bill forcing states to expand Medicaid.

Finally, there’s option three.

“Third scenario, the whole bill is thrown out,” he says.

In this case, some insurance companies have already said they will continue covering family members to up age 26 and remove lifetime caps on coverage, which are two popular parts of the President’s plan.

Robbins thinks option three is most likely which would, he says, force the market to drive prices.

“Everybody’s got their air conditioning on. If somebody else is paying for that, then you don’t have as much incentive to turn the knob up. If we try to take better care of ourselves because we have a stake in the cost, then I think that will help drive healthcare costs down, and if healthcare costs down, then it will be more affordable and we will have more people covered,” says Robbins.

Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford did not want to do an interview with us before Thursday morning, but says the state is well-positioned to implement the law if it is upheld. If overturned, he says the state does not have a plan for helping the uninsured.

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