Court Ruling Expected Soon on Free Preventive Care

preventative careThe 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to issue a decision within the next few months regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) preventive care mandate. The ACA requires non-grandfathered health plans and health insurance issuers to cover a set of recommended preventive services without imposing cost-sharing requirements, such as deductibles.

In March 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas struck down a key component of the ACA’s preventive care mandate. More specifically, the court ruled that the preventive care coverage requirements based on an A or B rating by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on or after March 23, 2010, violate the U.S. Constitution.

The Biden administration appealed the District Court’s decision to the 5th Circuit. A ruling by the 5th Circuit is expected soon, likely followed by an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It is uncertain whether the 5th Circuit will reverse or uphold the District Court’s ruling. However, for now, non-grandfathered health plans and issuers must continue to cover, without cost sharing, the full range of preventive care services required by the ACA. If the 5th Circuit rules that a key component of the ACA’s preventive care mandate is unconstitutional, employers will want to consult with their issuers or TPAs to assess the impact on their health coverage.

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