Two States Move to Guarantee Health Insurance Subsidies Before Supreme Court Ruling

Last week Pennsylvania and Delaware moved toward a Plan B in case the Supreme Court rules against the Obama administration in the pending King v. Burwell lawsuit that questions whether tax subsidies can be provided in those states that did not opt to operate their own state health exchanges.

"I feel moving to a [federally] supported state-based market place is not that heavy of a lift for us," said Rita Landgraf, Delaware's director of health and social services, in the June 3, 2015, Talking Points Memo. She said her state would consider the move even if the Supreme Court upholds the subsidies.

On Tuesday, June 2, Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania announced that his state had submitted an application to the federal government to establish a state-run health insurance exchange.

Wolf, according to, described the application "as part of my contingency plan, in order to protect 382,000 Pennsylvanians from potentially losing subsidies that help them afford health-care coverage."

The ruling from the Supreme Court is expected before the court breaks for the summer at the end of June.

CSG research found approximately 7.7 million people living in states (including Delaware and Pennsylvania) with a federally run health insurance exchange purchased health insurance and qualified for monthly premium tax subsidies during the 2014-15 open enrollment period. The estimated annual value of those tax subsidies tops $24 billion, according to CSG calculations.

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