Groups estimate 160,000 Hoosiers could lose subsidies

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About 160,000 low- and moderate-income Indiana residents could lose health insurance premium subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act if the U.S. Supreme Court rules them illegal, two groups estimated Tuesday.

The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation and Families USA, an advocacy group for affordable health care, both based their estimates on data provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In Indiana, more than $51 million in federal tax subsidies help pay for health insurance, the Kaiser Family estimated, with the average enrollee receiving a tax credit of about $320.

The average premium Indiana residents are paying is $120 a month, according to Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack. He said during a teleconference on Tuesday that if subsidies are withdrawn, they would rise to an average of $438.

Pollack said if the subsidies are withdrawn, younger and healthier people will likely be the first to drop out of the program, meaning premiums will skyrocket. He added that health insurance likely won't be available in states that did not establish their own online insurance marketplaces, Indiana included.

Kara Brooks, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mike Pence, said the administration will be in a position to comment on what it will do until after the Supreme Court issues its ruling and the governor's staff has had an opportunity to assess its impact. The Supreme Court will issue its decision before the end of the month.

State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, who is running for governor, said if the court invalidates the subsidies, she believes Pence will be forced to call a special session for lawmakers to create a state-run exchange.

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