King v. Burwell: Private Exchanges Can Provide a Solution for Consumers

Affordable Care Act

King v. Burwell: Private Exchanges Can Provide a Solution for Consumers

Published on March 04, 2015


The legality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) is once again, being challenged in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).
In March of 2015, SCOTUS began hearing oral arguments on the case King v. Burwell, which challenges the use of the federal health insurance exchange – – to issue tax subsidies to Americans who enrolled in a health insurance plan under the ACA.
These subsidies are critical because the average person enrolled in an Obamacare-compliant health plan through could see their health insurance premiums increase by 256% if the subsidies end, according to Vox’s Joss Fong (link).
Supporters for the plaintiff King argue that the tax subsidies must be distributed through state-based health insurance exchanges according to the ACA’s wording.
If SCOTUS rules in favor of King and orders the IRS to stop issuing subsidies in the 37 states that use to enroll residents, it could result in millions of Americans cancelling their health insurance policies because they’re unable to afford the full price.

When Will We Know?

SCOTUS is expected to render a decision later in spring – perhaps as early as June – and, if the court rules in favor of King, the impact on the ACA could be profound.

Is There a Solution?

In a new white paper published by eHealth, we propose legislative action at the federal level to address the needs of consumers and relieve state governments from the burden of building and launching their own state-run exchanges.
eHealth’s proposal creates a private, market-driven solution to the problem, allowing states to leverage the technical competencies and marketplace expertise of existing web-based agents and brokers to establish and run state-recognized “private exchanges.”
Unlike their state counterparts, existing web-based agents and brokers already have the systems and knowledge in place to efficiently operate such exchanges. Under the eHealth proposal, states could certify private exchanges to enroll individuals in health plans and assist individuals in applying for subsidies for health plans sold through the private exchange.

Read the White Paper or the OpEd

eHealth’s white paper is available online here, and you can also read an essay from eHealth CEO Gary Lauer that was published on

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