On Jan. 31, 2011, Florida U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson, declared the “individual mandate” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) unconstitutional. The ruling basically stated that the government cannot require Americans to purchase health insurance starting in 2014. Since the individual mandate is not effective until 2014, the court’s ruling has no immediate impact and does not affect ongoing implementation of the PPACA. So everything is status quo unless and until the Supreme Court decides otherwise. The Supreme Court seeing the case is not only likely but is expected.

Vinson concluded that, “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void.”

The Department of Justice will appeal the decision in this case, which was filed in March 2010 by Florida and joined by 25 other states. The constitutionality of the individual mandate is expected to eventually be decided by the Supreme Court. In December 2010, a Virginia federal district court decided against the individual mandate, but didn’t declare the entire law unconstitutional. In contrast, two earlier decisions in Virginia and Michigan found the mandate constitutional. More cases are pending while several other lawsuits have already been dismissed. What is the individual mandate?

Under the PPACA, starting in 2014, individuals must be enrolled in an individual family plan that meets basic minimum standards, forcing Americans to pay health insurance premiums. Health care exchanges, also starting in 2014, will provide a new insurance marketplace where individuals and small businesses can buy qualified health benefit plans. Senior Health plans are not expected to be impacted by the reform as much as the individual sector might be.

We will keep you posted as to the status of the health care reform and Insurance Medics is committed to giving you the most up to date information as unbiased as we possibly can, by sticking with the facts.