Federal Court Dismisses Northern Arapaho Tribe Challenge to Affordable Care Act Regs

Here are the materials in Northern Arapaho Tribe v. Dept. of Health and Human Services (D. Wyo.):

27 HHS Motion to Dismiss

38 Opposition

39 Reply

41 DCT Order

Previous post in this case is here.

Northern Arapaho Tribe’s Challenge to ACA Regs Rejected

Here are the materials in Northern Arapaho Tribe v. HHS (D. Wyo.):

9 NAT Motion for PI

13 HHS Opposition

21 DCT Order Denying PI

An excerpt:

This case asks whether the Northern Arapaho Tribe (the “Tribe”), a federally-recognized Indian tribe, should be exempted from the “large employer mandate” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the “ACA”). The large employer mandate is found at 26 U.S.C. § 4980H and, in short, requires a large employer to sponsor a health insurance plan meeting certain minimum requirements for its full-time employees or face an “assessable payment” if it fails to do so. As relevant to this case, § 4980H(c)(2) defines a “large employer” as employing an average of at least 50 full-time employees on business days.

The Tribe operates several different economic enterprises on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, including a casino, a convenience store, a gas station, a grocery store, and other businesses. The Tribe employs over 900 people in its economic enterprises and governmental agencies. (Conrad Decl. 2, 4.) Nonetheless, the Tribe argues it should not be subject to the large employer mandate.

After the ACA was passed, the Tribe discovered its employees could buy health insurance plans on the federal health insurance exchange that offered superior coverage at a lower price than any other plan previously available in the insurance market. The Tribe encouraged and assisted its members in purchasing individual health insurance plans through the federal exchange, including paying up to 80% of the premiums for its tribal members.

As of January 1, 2015, the ACA’s large employer mandate became effective. The Tribe alleges the health insurance plan it would offer as a large employer would be more expensive for its employees and offer less coverage than the individual plans available on the federal exchange. The Tribe believes the individual health insurance plans purchased through the federal exchange are superior to any employer-sponsored insurance plan it could provide under the large employer mandate, primarily because most of the Tribe’s members qualify for income-based tax credits and cost-sharing exemptions under the individual plans that are unavailable within an employer sponsored plan.

News coverage here, via Pechanga.