Supreme Court decision a relief for metro residents who receive health insurance subsidies

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Affordable Care Act will remain intact. The U.S. Supreme Court announced Thursday that a key provision is legal. Government subsidies for health insurance will continue for millions of Americans including 220,000 Missourians and 70,000 Kansans. Many say that means they'll be able to keep insurance that they couldn't afford otherwise.

"This is what I was afraid of not being able to afford," said Bill Merritt of Kansas City North as a looked at his diabetes medicines.

"One of my insulins is $5,000 for a three-month supply," Merritt added.

His worry went away Thursday as the Supreme Court upheld health insurance subsidies.

"It means everything to me and my family," he said.

The 60-year-old helps with his wife's day care business. After losing his job and health insurance last year, the couple and their son got coverage through the health care marketplace. With the government subsidy, they pay $59 a month for the premium.

"I can make this payment. I can make this payment all day long," Merritt said.

It would have been more than $1,000 a month without the subsidy. Merritt says that would have forced them to drop coverage.

Jim Torres says many others he enrolled would have dropped coverage, too. The insurance navigator at Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center says that would have resulted in higher prices for those who kept coverage.

"It could have caused serious repercussions in the health insurance marketplace but also in the broader health insurance markets in the states affected," said Torres.

Torres says the decision is also a relief for the health center. The subsidies result in revenue when it sees patients who have coverage.

"It really does help our financial bottom line," said Torres.

It's helping as the center continues to see many others who are uninsured because they chose not to get coverage or they don't qualify.

Eighty-five percent of the people who bought coverage through the federal marketplace receive subsidies. They average more than $270 a month.