Supreme Court’s Latest Ruling on the Affordable Care Act Means Independent Financial Advisors Will Continue to Experience Hefty Healthcare Insurance Costs
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled – for the third time – on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act brought by Texas and 17 other states and allowed the law to stay in place. And the vote from the new, more conservate bench, was 7-2.
The court did not rule on the merits of the law. Rather, it said the states themselves have suffered no harm, and therefore didn’t have ‘standing’ in which to bring the suit.
Why this suit was brought in the first place is important for financial advisors to understand.
When the ACA first became law, it carried a hefty fine for Americans who had no health insurance in place. Then, in the tax reform package of 2017, a provision in that bill that become law brought that penalty to zero –eliminating the monetary penalty of the mandate.
Smelling blood in the water, Texas and the other states sued, saying the mandate itself was unconstitutional, even if the penalty was now zero, and a federal district judge in Texas agreed and ruled in their favor.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals also agreed that penalty was unconstitutional, but didn’t rule on whether or not that meant the entire ACA was unconstitutional.
And so, for the third time, the case landed in the Supreme Court, but with no clear conclusion, only a ruling that the states lacked standing.
Impact on Independent FAs
So what does this all mean for the future of the ACA and the astronomical healthcare costs most advisors and their staff face?
Most likely, we’ll continue to see ever-increasing ACA premiums, with financial professionals paying as much if not more monthly for their healthcare than their mortgages. We’ll see more lawsuits and potentially more attempts – or promises of attempts – to dismantle the law in Congress. But will any of them ever work? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, we at the Financial Services Institute (FSI) have watched this closely, and for many years. And that’s why we created our individual health plans for financial advisors and staff that we launched earlier this year.
While our plans are ACA compliant, we also ask about 10 health questions to enroll, which drives our rates down dramatically for the majority of financial professionals. There’s no group needed to enroll, so advisors can enroll themselves and their families. And in the first three months, over 700 have done just that, meaning our group is already very large.
We unfortunately cannot help the rest of the country. But we can, and are, helping financial advisors and their staff get great relief from the single-biggest, non-business expense they face – and their membership dues help fund our critical advocacy mission at the same time, helping ensure they can continue to serve their clients well into the future.
Any advisor or staff member can go here and get instant rates then enroll online in 10 minutes.
Thinking About Tomorrow
Whatever happens in the future, the ACA – and higher costs for healthcare insurance for independent financial advisors – is here to stay.
Owners of independent financial advisor businesses owe it to themselves, their staff and their families to begin exploring ways to diminish the ever-rising expenses of healthcare insurance without onboarding unnecessary health risks.
Chris Paulitz is Head of Strategic Initiatives at the Financial Services Institute (FSI), where he has oversight of the organization’s Covered Adviser program.