The bottom line is that all the consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act survive intact. These include the ban on pre-existing condition exclusions, the subsidies to help people afford coverage, the end to annual and lifetime limits on health benefits, the consumer-friendly exchanges where people can buy insurance, and the ability of young adults to stay on their parents' policies.
For this, consumers have Chief Justice John Roberts to thank. He provided the decisive vote that upheld the controversial mandate. Interestingly, he did so because he said he considered it part of the government's power to tax. But, along with the more conservative justices on the court, he also said that the government does not have the power to force people to buy a private product. But that's irrelevant to the overall outcome. Once the court upheld the mandate, it never had to rule on the associated parts of the law so they remain untouched.
Here's a link to the actual opinion (warning, it's a 193-page PDF file).
The ruling limiting the expansion of Medicaid to cover all low-income households is more complicated and our experts are still thinking through the implications. More to come.
See previous entry:
Affordable Care Act upheld