Delaware Public Media

New law protects Delaware ACA recipients in case Obamacare is struck down

Aug 7, 2019

A new law in the First State preserves health insurance for Delawareans covered under the Affordable Care Act—in case the ACA is struck down. 

Gov. John Carney (D) signed state Sen. Trey Paradee’s (D-Dover) bill codifying ACA protections into law Tuesday. These include protections for people with preexisting conditions. 

The measure creates a safety net for Delawareans covered under the ACA as the fate of the Obama-era law is being debated in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Vince Ryan is Senior Advisor to Delaware’s Insurance Commissioner. He says if the ACA were struck down in court and Delaware did not have this law in place, insurance companies would likely end coverage for thousands of state residents.

“Now that this law is on the books, people with preexisting conditions in Delaware—in the event that the ACA goes away, they are still going to be able to receive coverage here in Delaware. Through this bill we have bridged a potential flaw in our insurance code,” said Ryan

Ryan adds that in the scenario where the ACA ends and Delaware has no safety net law many people losing coverage would likely seek care in emergency departments, raising the cost of care and potentially the insurance rate.

“When medical facilities have to continue to offer this uncompensated care free of charge, without being compensated for it, they have to raise their rates,” said Ryan. “What happens when the medical facilities and the hospitals raise their rates? That has an adverse impact on insurance rates.”

More than 22,500 people signed up for coverage in Delaware’s ACA marketplace in 2019. 

And officials say the rate for coverage under Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware’s ACA plans is expected to drop next year for the first time in years.

At Tuesday’s bill signing Gov. Carney also approved a measure adding adult dental coverage for Medicaid recipients.