Why the Obamacare Decision Is Great for Uber

Berlin's Taxis As German Court Considers Uber Technologies Inc. Ban
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A passenger holds a HTC Corp. smartphone displaying the Uber Technologies Inc. car service application (app) as they sit in a taxi in this arranged photograph in Berlin, Germany, on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014.

The gig economy should be celebrating this week

Uber may have publicly praised Supreme Court’s Friday decision clearing the way for nationwide same-sex marriage, but a decision that came a day earlier promises a bigger impact on the ride-hailing company.

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a decision preserving federal tax credits tied to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The ACA is an essential ingredient in the success of the so-called “gig economy,” wherein workers serve as independent contractors on a flexible schedule for on-demand service companies like Uber, Postmates, Instacart and more.

Because Uber and many companies like it consider their workers independent contractors instead of employees, they’re not required to provide those workers with health insurance, as the ACA only mandates that employers extend coverage to full-time employees. That loophole saves the companies a tremendous amount of money. Obamacare’s subsidies for individual insurance buyers, meanwhile, make it easier for Uber drivers and similar workers to get affordable coverage, making the work more attractive.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick reportedly said at a November dinner that Obamacare is “huge” for his company because it frees up more workers to come drive cars for Uber when they might otherwise be tethered to a job that offers health benefits. “The democratization of those types of benefits allow people to have more flexible ways to make a living,” Kalanick said at the dinner. “They don’t have to be working for ‘the man.'” (An Uber spokeswoman confirmed Kalanick’s comments, but declined to elaborate further.)

Indeed, when Uber recently surveyed its drivers about whether they would prefer a “9-to-5 job with some benefits and a set salary” or one where they could make their own schedule, 73% said they would forgo the benefits package in favor of freedom, according to a report the company released in January. And Uber is making efforts to help its drivers get insured, announcing late last year a partnership with Stride Health to guide workers in choosing a plan on the government insurance exchanges.

It’s unclear, however, how much Uber is actually spending, if anything, on this ancillary benefit: Stride’s services are already available for free to anyone. A spokeswoman for Uber says drivers who use Stride through Uber’s “customized” app would “save time” because their personal information would already be “pre-populated” into tool.

Still, how much longer Uber might capitalize on a combination of Obamacare and employment status rules remains up in the air. A California labor board recently found that a single Uber driver was more accurately characterized as an employee, not an independent contractor. While that decision is non-binding, it has called into question Uber’s policies regarding health insurance and other benefits. On-demand grocery service Instacart, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, recently announced that it is experimenting with turning some of its workers into part-time employees in what could be the first step in a broader trend across gig economy companies.

For now, however, Uber is safe to celebrate. Had the Court gone the other way Thursday, it may have found its business model in serious jeopardy.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.


Looking To Stay On Your Partner’s Insurance? It May Be Time To Get Married

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield health benefits cards are arra
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield health benefits cards are arranged for a photograph Tuesday, September 27, 2005.

Domestic partner benefits may become a lot less common.

It’s official. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of legalizing gay marriage across the U.S., opening up the rite of commitment to any person regardless of their sexuality.

It’s a historic moment–and the last thing that’s on many peoples minds is insurance. (Though, quick reminder! The Supreme Court also made an important decision yesterday to uphold Obamacare subsidies.)

But, now that the right to marry is extended to everyone, many companies could start streamlining their benefits packages and take away the perk of insurance coverage for domestic partners, according to analysis by Aon Hewitt. If you want to stay on your significant other’s employer-sponsored insurance policy, now may be the moment to pop the question.

Such a move could affect both gay and straight couples who may opt to be committed partners but not marry, which is more common for the Millennial generation. Nearly 9.2% of Millennials co-habit with a partner, nearly twice the rate of Gen Xers at the same age, according to the Pew Research Center.

About 77% of employers currently offer same-sex domestic partner health care coverage, according to data from Aon Hewitt. Such benefits were a way for companies to even the benefits playing field for couples who couldn’t legally wed. But many companies could opt out of that offering, streamlining their benefits (and costs) to only cover spouses–now that all people have equal access to marriage.

Some companies, including Delta Air Lines and Verizon Communications, had already started to eliminate domestic partner benefits in states where gay marriage was legal prior to the Supreme Court ruling. Those policies will likely be extended now that marriage is widely accessible, making insurance benefits available only to legal spouses–gay or straight.

“The main idea is to make things fair for everyone,” Verizon spokesman Ray McConville, told the Wall Street Journal. “Currently, if you’re a guy living with a longtime girlfriend or vice versa, you don’t have the ability to get health insurance for your partner.”

Streamlining benefits helps companies ease the cost of administrative functions, especially when it comes to applying different standards to employees in various states, said Aon Hewitt.

Other companies, like Google, IBM and Dow Chemical, offer domestic partner benefits to all couples and don’t envision getting rid of the perk anytime soon. They see it as a way to attract top talent, recognizing that some people simply prefer not to marry.

MONEY Health Care

What is Obamacare?

Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

Here's how President Obama's health insurance reform law actually works

Today, there’s been a lot of talk about the Supreme Court’s latest ruling on the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. But while the law signed by President Obama in 2010 made huge changes to the health insurance system, most people under 65 still get their coverage the way they always did: from their employer. Unless you bought a health insurance plan on a government-run marketplace, you might not be familiar with how the ACA provides coverage. Here are answers to some common questions:

How does the law help people get insurance?

The law set up insurance “exchanges” that offer consumers and small businesses a choice of standardized and heavily regulated health plans. For the most part, this marketplaces serve people who aren’t offered insurance by a large employer.

And how is that different from the way people bought their own insurance before?

On the exchanges, insurers are not able to turn anyone down because of a pre-existing condition; from pregnancy to heart disease, they’re all covered. The law also restricts or blocks annual and lifetime limits on what insurers, including in employer plans, will pay.

Rates aren’t tied to your health, although smokers may have to pay up to 50% more. The oldest people in a plan will pay no more than three times the rate paid by the youngest. In short, policies you buy yourself will be a lot more like the group plans you get at work.

What does coverage cost?

The insurance on the exchanges isn’t free—a family of four could well face annual premiums of $10,000 a year. But many of those using the exchanges will also receive federal subsidies—technically, tax credits—to help them buy. Those subsidies reach deep into the middle class: For families earning up to four times the poverty line—about $95,000 for a couple with two kids—the tax credits will be set so that they pay no more than about 9.5% of their income for a fairly basic health plan. (That cap is designed to rise gradually should premiums grow faster than incomes.)

People with lower incomes pay even smaller percentages. Some pay almost nothing.

The law was also meant to allows millions of the near poor to join Medicaid through the exchanges, although a Supreme Court decision left it up to individual states whether to participate in the expansion. Currently, 21 states are opting out.

What kind of coverage can I get?

All the plans must provide at least a standard menu of essential benefits. They come in four basic types: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.

Although plans can compete by mixing different premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, you’ll know the average level of out-of-pocket costs you can expect in each type. For example, the silver plans ask you to pay about 30% of your costs out of pocket. (Subsidies are based on the cost of the silver plans.) The more expensive platinum plans, which would be most similar to a large employer’s coverage, would have out-of-pocket costs of just 10%.

How is all this paid for?

In a number of ways, but the most direct one is that high earners got a payroll tax hike. Starting in 2013, couples have paid additional taxes on earnings above $250,000 ($200,000, if you’re single)—0.9% on earned income and 3.8% on investment income.

Why are some people fined for not buying coverage?

By 2016 you’ll be dunned $695 a year or 2.5% of your income, whichever is higher, if you don’t have health insurance. However, there’s an exemption if premiums top 8% of your income. Insurers fought for this provision. Even with subsidies, some people may decide that coverage is too expensive. They’ll tend to be healthier than average—that’s why they’d be willing to take the risk. But that poses a problem in a system where insurers have to take all comers. If healthy people drop out, the pool of people paying in will typically be sicker and more expensive to treat. That causes premiums to rise, which causes more healthy people to drop out, which means higher premiums, and so on. To prevent this “death spiral,” the law pushes people to buy.

Adapted from “The Truth About Health Care Reform,” which appeared in the May 2010 issue of MONEY.

MONEY Health Care

Here is How Much the Government Will Pay to Help You Buy Obamacare

Getty Images

The Supreme Court decided that health care subsidies should remain available to everyone who buys Obamacare plans

Today the Supreme Court decided that Americans who buy health insurance on Healthcare.gov are eligible for subsidies to help them pay their premiums.

The decision shines a bright light on the oft-forgotten linchpin that holds the sweeping 2010 health care law together: The federal government is handing people significant amounts of money to pay their premiums.

Under the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, those who don’t have health insurance can buy plans on government-run marketplaces or “exchanges.” States may either set up their own marketplaces or opt to use the federal government’s marketplace, available on Healthcare.gov. Then, the government provides subsidies to help people afford the healthcare premiums.

The court case was about whether the law said the subsidies applied in states that didn’t set up their own exchanges. (The argument was over how to read one clause in the legislation.) The Supreme Court decided that health care subsidies should remain available to everyone who buys Obamacare plans.

The subsidies make a huge difference to the people who receive them: On the federal exchange, they’re worth an average of $272 a month.

Use this calculator from the Kaiser Family Foundation to see how much an Obamacare plan would cost you, and how much is covered by the subsidies:

And a lot of people qualify: 87% of people who bought Obamacare plans on the federal exchange got a subsidy. Anyone who makes up to 400% of the poverty line is eligible. In 2015, families of four that earned $95,400 made the cutoff.

Policymakers will continue to debate whether the subsidies are accomplishing the goal of making health care affordable. The Government Accountability Office recently found that subsidies “likely contributed to an expansion of health insurance coverage in 2014.” But it’s not like health insurance premiums are cheap, even with financial assistance from the government. After all, Americans who get health insurance at work pay less, on average: $90 a month for single coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s up from just $27 a month 15 years ago.

And by the way, workplace coverage is (indirectly) subsidized by the government too, in the form of a tax break that makes it very attractive for companies to offer.

MONEY Health Care

When Your Health Plan’s Deductible Is So High That You Can’t Afford to See a Doctor

empty pill container
Luis Pedrosa—iStock

23% of respondents to a new survey were underinsured, in part due to rising deductibles.

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was designed to help provide health insurance for those who could not previously afford insurance, and it appears to have succeeded in that goal. (Given that insurance coverage is becoming a mandate punishable by fines, how could it not?)

However, the underpinning of Obamacare is to spread costs out through subsidies toward a greater use of higher deductible health plans (HDHPs) to control costs. Higher deductibles tend to contribute to a different problem — underinsurance. You may have insurance now, but is your deductible so high relative to your income that you tend not to use it? The latest findings from the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance survey suggest that was the case for many people in 2014.

According to the survey report, approximately 23% of the respondents between 19 and 64 years of age who had continuous insurance over a twelve-month period were underinsured. That means that approximately 31 million insured people have insufficient coverage. Unfortunately, the 23% value shows no statistical difference since the report became biennial in 2010, but it does show a doubling in the underinsured rate since the first study in 2003 — as well as a tripling of those with HDHPs.

The consequences of underinsurance are significant. According to the report, just over half (51%) of the underinsured had problems with medical bills and corresponding debts. Debt loads of at least $4,000 were noted by half of the underinsured and another 41% of the privately insured with HDHPs. Worse, 44% of the underinsured avoided some form of medical care because of the cost.

To be underinsured for study purposes, you had to meet one of these criteria:

    • High Medical Costs – Out-of-pocket costs (premiums excluded) over the previous twelve-month period were at least 10% of household income. If you were below the poverty line (under 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL)), the threshold percentage was 5% of household income.
    • High Deductibles – Your deductible was at least 5% of your household income, regardless of that income level.

By that definition, we would expect lower income families to make up most of the underinsured — and they do, at more than twice the rate of higher income families. At least the numbers have improved slightly. The 2014 survey shows 42% of those below the poverty line on the survey were underinsured, down from 44% in 2012 and 49% in 2010.

Meanwhile, the number of the insured with deductibles that are more than 5% of income has steadily risen from 3% in 2005 to 11% today. Those with employer-provided coverage were more likely to have HDHPs if they were employed at a smaller firm with less than one hundred employees (20% compared to 8% at larger firms). For those with individual coverage through any source including the exchanges, the HDHP share was 24%.

Overall, deductibles of at least $3,000 are paid by 11% of the fully insured, up from 4% in 2010 and a paltry 1% in 2003. One-quarter of the respondents have no deductible, 37% have deductibles below $1,000, and the remaining 27% have deductibles between $1,000 and $3,000.

Download the full report here

In fairness to ObamaCare, since the survey was conducted between July and December 2014, the effect of the ACA cannot possibly be measured in this survey (since most coverage through the exchanges could not cover the entire twelve-month period). However, the effect should be measurable in the next biennial survey.

Will Obamacare and the upcoming employer mandates truly provide affordable insurance for all, or will there primarily be a shift from the uninsured to underinsured who do not use their benefits? By the time the next survey comes out in 2016, we will know the answer. The only sure thing is that both friends and foes of Obamacare will be spinning the results to meet their preferred view of health care.

More from MoneyTips:

MONEY Health Care

How Long Will My Health Insurance Cover My Claims If I Don’t Pay My Premium?

Jack Hollingsworth—Getty Images

An estimated 13% of people who signed up for Obamacare this year have already lost their insurance because they didn't pay their monthly premium.

Question: I purchased my health insurance through Healthcare.gov last year. I’ve made all of my payments on time, until now. My income was recently cut by about 25% when I lost the part-time job I was working to make ends meet. I’m two weeks late on my health insurance premium, but need to get my medication refilled and schedule a checkup. Will these be covered? How long do I have to get caught up before my policy is canceled?

Answer: When life throws a curveball, like your recent job loss, financial chaos can ensue. Losing one-fourth of your income is pretty significant, so your inability to stay on top of your premium is understandable.

An estimated 13% of those who signed up on ACA federal and state marketplaces in 2015 have since lost their insurance due to premium nonpayment, so you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are some safeguards in place to protect you, and options available should your policy actually lapse.

You’re likely entitled to a “grace period.”

Most people who purchased insurance plans on state and federal marketplaces qualified for tax credits, making their insurance more affordable. If you received a premium tax credit to reduce your monthly premiums, you’re in luck: The Affordable Care Act instituted a 90-day grace period for these subsidized plans.

For the first 30 days after your missed payment, your insurance company must pay your claims. For days 31-90 of the grace period, they don’t have to pay the claims but will hold them rather than flat-out denying them.

During the entire 90-day grace period, you are afforded the opportunity to get caught up and have your insurance pick back up once you are current on your premiums. Any claims held during this time will be processed once you’re caught up. If you’re unable to get caught up during this time, your policy will be canceled and any claims submitted after the initial 30 days will be your responsibility entirely.

If you didn’t qualify for a premium tax credit, call your insurer.

If your plan isn’t protected by the ACA 90-day grace period for subsidized plans, your insurer may still offer you some time to catch up. Thirty days tends to be the norm, but grace periods and the specifics of coverage during these times vary widely from insurer to insurer. Your best chance for resolving the issue with minimal disruption is to contact them directly and explain your situation. Even if they aren’t willing to give you additional time to pay, you’ll at least know what you’re up against.

If your policy is canceled, don’t wait to take action.

It sounds like you have recurring prescription costs, and likely the doctor’s visits that often accompany them. If your policy is canceled or you know a cancellation is inevitable, you should immediately begin looking for other coverage options or budgeting to pay out of pocket.

Depending on the extent of your current financial hardships, you could be eligible for Medicaid. Check with your state’s Medicaid office for eligibility specifics. If you’re not eligible, you’ll have to wait until open enrollment begins on November 1, 2015, to shop for a new plan on the marketplace, as nonpayment of premiums disqualifies you from “special enrollment periods.” Also, if you go without health insurance for more than three consecutive months and do not qualify for an exemption, you will be responsible for paying a penalty at tax time.

If forced to go uninsured for the remainder of the year, set aside what you can to pay for your medical expenses and don’t be afraid to use community health centers. You can reduce prescription costs by opting for generics, choosing more affordable therapeutic alternatives when generics aren’t available and applying for assistance through drug manufacturers and nonprofit organizations. Finally, be a savvy health care consumer by comparing prices for medical services as you would if you were shopping for plane tickets or anything else.

If you find yourself holding an unmanageable medical bill, call your provider and negotiate. You’ll often find they’re willing to work with cash-paying customers who are having a difficult time.

More From NerdWallet:

TIME Obamacare

How Obamacare Has Impacted The Uninsured Rate

Obamacare's 6-Million Target Hit As Exchange Sees Visits Surge
Bloomberg/Getty Images An Affordable Care Act application and enrollment help sign stands outside a Westside Family Healthcare center in Bear, Delaware.

An annual survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded the sharpest drop in uninsured adults in 2014 since the survey began in 1997. The uninsured rate among adults under 65 dropped from 20.4 percent in 2013 to 16.3 percent in 2014. The uninsured rate among adults 19-25, especially, saw progress from 31.3 percent uninsured to 26.9 percent in 2014.

The growing prevalence of insurance reflects the start of Obamacare’s expanded coverage in January 2014. In states that accepted Medicaid expansion with Obamacare, the percentage of insured adults dropped from 18.4 to 13.3 percent — 2 percentage points more than the drop in states that refused the expansion.

But there’s still much more to do before all Americans have health insurance. The survey found that a total of 36 million people were uninsured at the time the survey was taken. Now, a Supreme Court decision is expected within the week on King v. Burwell, which will determine if the insurance subsidies given to 6.4 million Americans through the Affordable Care Act are constitutional. If not, then President Obama’s signature legislation could be crippled.


TIME Healthcare

The Number of Uninsured Americans Continues to Drop

36 million people were uninsured last year

New federal data released Tuesday reveal that 36 million people in the United States were uninsured in 2014. That number marks a significant drop from the 48.6 million Americans without insurance in 2010, the year the Affordable Care Act was signed into law.

The new data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) are based on interviews with 111,682 people. The findings show that the number of uninsured Americans of all ages dropped to 36 million in 2014 from 44.8 million in 2013. “That’s pretty sharp,” says study author Robin A. Cohen, a statistician at the NCHS.

“This is another set of data tracking what I think has become a pretty broad consensus that the Affordable Care Act is having a significant impact on reducing uninsurance,” says Sabrina Corlette, a senior research fellow and project director at the Center for Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University (who was not involved with the research.)

The findings estimate that 170.4 million Americans under age 65 were covered by private health insurance plans in 2014. Overall, 2.2% of Americans were covered via plans that were purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state exchanges. Hawaii had the lowest percentage of uninsured individuals under age 65 in 2014, and Texas and Oklahoma had the highest rates of uninsured Americans in that year.

“If you look at the states with the greatest decrease in uninsurance rates, they are all Medicaid expansion states, and the states that continue to have pretty high rates of uninsurance have declined to expand Medicaid,” Corlette says.

Though the numbers show a significant decline in the number of Americans without health insurance, there’s still a lot of room for improvement, Corlette says. “[36 million people] is still a pretty hefty portion of the population,” she says. “It’s understandable that there is always going to be a certain segment of the population that doesn’t have insurance at a given point in time, but 36 million people is not where we need to be.”

MONEY Parenting

15 Financial Must Dos for Anyone Having a Baby

Getty Images/Tetra images RF

That bundle of love is going to cost you plenty over a lifetime, so start planning now.

Preparing for parenthood isn’t just tiny clothes and heartwarming ultrasound photos; it involves a lot of financial preparation. This guide will lay out the most important financial tasks on your plate from pregnancy to baby’s first years, including:

  • Estimating your medical costs
  • Planning leave from your job
  • Budgeting for the new arrival

Some parenting preparations are best learned on the fly — how to effortlessly and painlessly change the messiest diapers, for instance. But the list of things to do before baby arrives and within his or her first several weeks is lengthy, so tackling certain tasks now is a smart idea.

Pre-Delivery Planning

1. Understand your health insurance and anticipate costs. Having a baby is expensive, even when you have health insurance. You should forecast your expected costs fairly early in the pregnancy. NerdWallet’s guide to making sense of your medical bills can help as you navigate prenatal care, labor and delivery, and the bills that will ultimately follow.

2. Plan for maternity/paternity leave. How much time you and your partner (if you have one) get off work and whether you’re paid during that period can significantly impact your household finances in the coming year. Understand your company’s policies and your state’s laws to get an accurate picture of how your maternity leave will affect your bottom line.

3. Draft your pre-baby budget. Once you know what you’ll be spending on out-of-pocket medical costs, understand how your income will be impacted in the coming months and have prepared a shopping list for your new addition, adjust your budget accordingly. Babies come with plenty of expenses, so set a limit on both necessary and optional buys (like that designer diaper bag or high-end stroller with the LCD control panel), and consider buying used to keep spending under control.

4. Plan your post-delivery budget. Recurring costs such as diapers, child care and extra food will change your household expenses for years to come. Plan for them now so you aren’t caught off guard.

5. Choose a pediatrician within your insurance network. Your baby’s first doctor appointment will come within her first week of life, so you’ll want to have a physician picked out. Talk to friends and family to get recommendations, call around to local clinics and ask to interview a pediatrician before you make your choice. In searching for the right doctor, don’t forget to double-check that he or she is within your insurance network. Ask the clinic, but verify by calling your insurance company so you’re not hit with unexpected out-of-network charges.

6. Start or check your emergency fund. If you don’t already have a “rainy day fund,” now’s the time to anticipate some emergencies. Kids are accident prone, and with the cost of raising a child there’s no telling if you’ll have the disposable income to pay for any unexpected expenses. Having at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses covered is a great place to start.

While in the Hospital

The main focus while you’re in the hospital is having a healthy baby. But there are a few loose ends that will need to be taken care of.

7. Order a birth certificate and Social Security card. Hospital staffers should provide you with the necessary paperwork to get your new child’s Social Security number and birth certificate. If they don’t or if you are having a home birth, contact your state’s office of vital records for the birth certificate and your local Social Security office to get a Social Security card.

Within Baby’s First 30 Days

8. Add your child to your health insurance. In most cases, you have 30 days from your child’s birth date to add him to an existing health insurance policy. In some employer-based plans, you have 60 days. Regardless, do it sooner rather than later, as you don’t want to be caught with a sick baby and no coverage.

9. Consider a life insurance policy on your child. No one expects the tragedy of losing a child, so many parents don’t plan for it. The rates are generally low because a child’s life insurance policy is used to cover funeral costs and little else. When it comes to covering children, a “term” policy that lasts until they are self-sufficient is the most popular choice.

10. Begin planning for child care. Finding the right day care or nanny can take weeks. Get started long before your maternity leave is over. You’ll need time to visit day care centers or interview nannies, as well as complete an application and approval process if required.

Beyond the First Month

You’ll be in this parenting role for years to come, so planning for the future is crucial. Estate planning is a big part of providing for your children, but it isn’t the only important forward-focused task to check off your list.

11. Adjust your beneficiaries. Assuming you already have life insurance for yourself or the main breadwinner in your household — and if you don’t, you should — you may want to add your child as a beneficiary. The same goes for your 401(k) and IRAs. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to make adjustments elsewhere to ensure when and how your child will have access to the money. A will and/or trust can accomplish this.

12. Disability insurance. You’re far more likely to need disability insurance than life insurance. Make sure you have the right amount of coverage — enough to meet your expenses if you’re out of work for several months. Remember, your monthly living expenses have gone up since the new addition.

13. Write or adjust your will. Tragic things happen and you want to ensure your child is taken care of in the event that one or both parents die. Designate a guardian so the courts don’t have to. Your will is only one part of estate planning, but it’s a good place to begin.

14. Keep funding your retirement. When a child arrives, it’s easy to forget your personal goals and long-term plans in light of this huge responsibility. Stay on top of your retirement plans so your child doesn’t have to support you in old age.

15. Save for his or her education. College is costly, but you can make it more manageable by starting to save early.

Adding a new member to your family comes with a lengthy list of responsibilities, so don’t try to do them all at once. Prioritize and tackle the most important items on your financial to-do list first. Because medical bills and insurance claims will be some of the first financial obligations you’ll encounter while expecting, start there. Move on to budgeting for pregnancy and the first several months of your baby’s life.

With 18 or more years until your little one leaves home, time would seem to be on your side. But — as the saying goes — blink and he’s grown. Now is the time to start taking the steps that will set your family up for financial success.

More from NerdWallet:

Read next: 3 Things Dads and Moms Don’t Need to Buy

MONEY Health Care

7 Quotes From the Supreme Court on the Obamacare Case

Supreme Court Poised To Issue Blockbuster Rulings
Bloomberg via Getty Images A police officer walks near the "Contemplation of Justice" statue at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, June 10, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to issue blockbuster rulings on same-sex marriage and health care with both rulings due by the end of June.

"No one's going to visit the program if there are no subsidies" -- Justice Sotomayor

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hand down its decision this month in the case of King v. Burwell. The case seeks to determine whether the health insurance subsidies that are part of the Affordable Care Act can legally be available through the federal health insurance exchange, Healthcare.gov, or if states must create their own healthcare exchanges in order to access the subsidies. Let’s take a look back at seven quotes from the oral arguments in March that sum up how we got here, problems that might arise if that part of the law was struck down, and a potential solution.

Not a typo
The petitioner argued that Congress really meant to give the subsidies only to people in states that set up their own exchanges as an incentive to get states to create their own exchanges, but some of the Supreme Court Justices seemed less than convinced:

Do you really believe that states fully understood that they were not going to get — their citizens were not going to get — subsidies if they let the Federal government [run their exchange]? — Justice Sotomayor

There’s at least a presumption, as we interpret statutes, that Congress does not mean to impose heavy burdens and Draconian choices on states unless it says so awfully clearly. — Justice Kagan

The same argument that the Supreme Court used a few years ago to strike down the part of Obamacare that required states to expand Medicaid — it imposed a heavy burden on the state — could be used to keep the law from requiring states to either set up their own exchanges or forgo the subsidy for their citizens.

But whether enough of the Justices buy into this argument, and how they’ll deal with it — removing the state-run requirement to get the subsidies or striking down the subsidies entirely — remains to be seen.

Someone needed a proofreader

The language here in 36B was not the product of some last-minute deal, it wasn’t the product of scrambling at the end. The language that emerged here, the statutory structure with the language of 36B about tax credits, the language that’s in 1311, the language that’s in 1321 was the product of the Senate Finance Committee markup, which went on for weeks and weeks. It was a public — it was a public hearing. It — frankly, it was covered by C-SPAN. You can go watch it on the C-SPAN archives if you want to; and you will see coming out of that that the — that the understanding, the clear understanding was with this statutory setup would result in subsidies being available in every State. — Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.

When Solicitor General Verrilli mentions 1311, 1321, and 36B, he’s referring to sections or subsections of the Affordable Care Act that he is attempting to defend. Verrilli’s argument is basically that separating subsidies and exchanges was a typo. Congress decided that the federal government would offer subsidies and, because not every state would want to set up an exchange, the federal government would set up an exchange for those states that chose not to.

Those two ideas are in separate sections of the law, but the part about the subsidies says that they’ll be available to people who enrolled “through an Exchange established by the State under 1311.”


What will happen if it’s struck down?

No one’s going to visit the program if there are no subsidies because not enough people will buy the programs to stay in the exchanges. — Justice Sotomayor

Verrilli was a little more end-of-the-world about the prospects of the ACA if the subsidies die:

It precipitates the insurance market death spirals that the statutory findings specifically say the statute was designed to avoid, and of course it revokes the promise of affordable care for millions of Americans. — Solicitor General Verrilli

The only reason insurers such as UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, and Cigna were able to accept everyone regardless of preexisting conditions was because Obamacare mandated that everyone must have health insurance, thus spreading costs out over a larger population. The only way to get these healthy people on insurance en masse was to subsidize the cost.

If there aren’t any subsidies, there’s a danger of entering the so-called death spiral. In this scenario, the healthiest people may leave an insurance program because it’s too expensive. This might require the rates to increase, as the average medical cost per person would be higher if the healthiest people were gone, which could cause the next-healthiest people to leave, and so on.

Fix the typo?

What about Congress? You really think Congress is just going to sit there while ­­all of these disastrous consequences ensue? — Justice Scalia

In theory, this issue could all go away if Congress would just rewrite the law as Verrilli claims it was intended to be — which is also the way the government has been following the law since the exchanges were set up. But this is a different Congress than the one that initially passed the law, which is likely to make for some lively debates in Congress if the Supreme Court says that the subsidies are unconstitutional.

The alternative is for all the states to set up their own exchanges, rather than use healthcare.gov, but that would likely take longer to set up than the time remaining before the next enrollment period.

Delay the impact of the decision

Would it not be possible, if we were to adopt Petitioners’ interpretation of the statute, to stay the mandate until the end of this tax year as we have done in other cases where we have adopted an interpretation of the constitutional — or a statute that would have very disruptive consequences? — Justice Alito

Alito seems to be trying to strike a compromise, allowing the Supreme Court to follow the law as it was written, but allowing Congress and/or the states time to fix the problem before there’s an impact.

What’s an investor to do?
In addition to health insurers, companies that run hospitals, such as Community Health Systems, LifePoint, and Tenet Healthcare are also at risk because the Supreme Court’s decision could result in more uninsured people. This could cause an increase in unpaid bills that the hospitals would have to absorb.

If you have a strong feeling about which way the Supreme Court is going to rule, you could buy or short the insurers and hospitals, betting for the status quo, or a disruption of the law, respectively. Most investors, however, would probably be best off staying out of the sectors until the Supreme Court hands down its ruling. The binary nature of the ruling — with just one or two Justices likely to decide the law’s fate — is too much risk for most investors without a background in constitutional law to handle.

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