What the ObamaCare challenge means to workers’ compensation recipients

by Karl Voigt

It’s all over the news. But what does the ObamaCare challenge means to workers’ compensation recipients?

It’s of particular interest to those workers’ compensation claimants who have been out of work for some time.  Many — even most — of them have had their health insurance policies canceled by their employers. This often leaves them with no health insurance coverage. Unfortunately, under workers’ compensation law, an employer is not obligated to keep health insurance going if an employee is out of work for an extended period. And that’s why we periodically address this topic here in our blog.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularized as “ObamaCare”, scheduled to roll out in 2014, will provide reduced cost health insurance coverage to those who can’t afford often prohibitively expensive private health insurance policies. This less expensive coverage will enable many of our clients to afford the security of knowing their medical bills will be paid.

One compromise of the law as it is written is that it requires every citizen to secure some sort of health insurance. This may be a critical component of the law: this individual mandate to have health insurance would help create a pool of both healthy and unhealthy individuals. That way, there would not simply be a pool of sick people all vying for healthcare dollars. It is this requirement that has bred a major challenge to the Act before the United States Supreme Court. In essence, opponents believe that it is unconstitutional for the government to force them to buy anything.

If this week’s arguments are any indicator, there is a chance that the Court will strike this provision down. It is also possible that the Court will strike down the entire Act. We will likely learn what the Court has to say in June. Stay tuned.

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