GREEN BAY — The Supreme Court's historic ruling on the health insurance reform law is making waves throughout the country.
Republican congressional leaders say they are making plans to repeal the law following the November elections.
The Supreme Court justices announced Friday their decision to uphold the heart of the reforms in a five to four vote. That is the government's order that almost everyone have health insurance or pay a fine. The requirement will take effect in 2014.
In a decision that caused initial confusion, justices agreed the government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance.
But, they said they determined this mandate is essentially a tax, and the government has the power to impose it. It will affect millions of Americans.
Just how did the justices vote? Chief Justice John Roberts was the swing vote. He sided with Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.
Questions still linger over what the Affordable Healthcare Act means for Americans. The biggest questions surround what will happen to those already insured.
We've heard the back and forth rhetoric of whether the Affordable Healthcare Act is a good or bad policy.
"This is a victory for the American people,” said President Barack Obama.
"I will work to repeal Obamacare,” said Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney.
And now that the Supreme Court upheld the law, what does this mean for the average American?
Insurance advisors like Pam Utpadel say the biggest changes will happen to those currently uninsured.
“There will be a state exchange set up where people can go to a website or work with an independent provider to buy a plan,” said Utpadel, the president of Universal Insurance Advisors in Appleton.
However, Governor Walker says his administration won't set up the exchanges until after the November elections.
If you don't choose from the pool of plans available, either private or through the government, you'll face a fine of either $95 or 1% of your income in 2014, whichever is greater.
That fine increases to $695 for an uninsured adult by 2016. For an uninsured family, it would be $2,085, or 2.5% of your income, by the year 2016.
"We ultimately included in the Affordable Care Act that people who can afford to buy health insurance should take responsibility to do so,” said Obama.
Some Republicans in the Senate say the options that uninsured people will have remain vague.
"The problem is we've never known exactly what the cost will be for these health insurance plans that will be available for the exchanges in 2014,” said Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).
Some insurance advisors agree there are more questions right now than answers.
"Where are we going to buy our insurance, and what about Medicaid expansion? There are just a lot of unknowns that are waiting for clarification from the government,” said Utpadel.
But what does this Affordable Healthcare Act all mean if you are already insured through your employer?
Republicans and insurance professionals believe premiums will go up.
So far, the government says starting in 2013 there will be a $2,500 limit if you use a tax-free flexible spending account on your health care coverage.
Health insurance professionals we spoke with say the one sure-fire way to keep your health care costs down is to practice healthy lifestyle habits.
Health care and insurance professionals say their advice is: just wait and see how current insurance plans might be affected. They say details about that are lacking so far.
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