Reform Alert - News from the Blues' Office of National Health Reform

Supreme Court upholds Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

June 28, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court today clarified the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Blues are issuing the following public statement in response to this key court decision:

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has clarified the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Blue Cross Blue Shield will continue to lead Michigan's health insurers in implementing changes necessary to have a well-functioning health insurance market in place for Michigan consumers by Oct. 1, 2013. That is when the health exchange is scheduled to be open for people to enroll in coverage.

"In many ways, Blue Cross serves as the model for the system created by the federal health reform law," said Daniel J. Loepp, BCBSM president and CEO. "Our long history of guaranteeing high-quality, community-rated coverage to all who apply, regardless of medical condition, gives the Blues a deserved reputation as a place of strength and stability for health care consumers. Our history also gives us a responsibility to ensure that Michigan's people, employers and health care providers are ready for the future. We will be redoubling our efforts to ensure that Michigan is informed and ready for a new health insurance marketplace with new rules and standards for coverage."

Since the day the federal health reform law went into effect, BCBSM has implemented changes to its business operations and benefit designs to comply with new federal guidelines, prepare for doing business on the state's health exchange and continue to improve business for stakeholders. BCBSM will continue working with state and federal policymakers, as well as the health care industry in Michigan, to prepare for a new marketplace.

"Blue Cross has been tireless in our efforts to ensure our business is ready for reform and our stakeholders are informed," said Kirk Roy, BCBSM vice president for its Office of National Health Reform. "Michigan has some work to do to construct its exchange and build a consistent regulatory framework underneath it to serve consumers. Blue Cross has advised on those efforts and will continue to offer our expertise to policymakers as we work together to construct a system that serves Michigan consumers with a choice of high-quality, affordable health insurance products to meet their unique needs."

BCBSM will take the following steps to promote affordable coverage:

  • Serve as a trusted advisor to consumers and stakeholders who have questions. 
  • Modify and introduce innovative health plans that meet federal guidelines around essential benefits and actuarial value. 
  • Explore ways to make health plans more affordable so that those without insurance can purchase coverage. 
  • Help people without coverage understand the subsidies they may qualify for, how to use them on the exchange and how they may, in certain cases, be eligible for Medicaid under expanded federal income criteria.

The information on this website is based on BCBSM's review of the national health care reform legislation and is not intended to impart legal advice. Interpretations of the reform legislation vary, and efforts will be made to present and update accurate information. This overview is intended as an educational tool only and does not replace a more rigorous review of the law's applicability to individual circumstances and attendant legal counsel and should not be relied upon as legal or compliance advice. Analysis is ongoing and additional guidance is also anticipated from the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, some reform regulations may differ for particular members enrolled in certain programs such as the Federal Employee Program, and those members are encouraged to consult with their benefit administrators for specific details.