U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP) U.S. Supreme Court (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The U.S. Supreme Court has officially decided to let the insurers involved in a group of major Affordable Care Act subsidy payment cases cut down on printing costs, and it’s decided against taking up several life insurance and annuity appeals.

The court revealed those moves today, in a 78-page order list document that gives hints about the court’s work in the coming term.

The court granted a routine motion to let three health insurers — Maine Community Health Options, Moda Health Plan Inc. and Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Company — “dispense with printing the joint appendix.”

(Related: Here’s Why the USA Should Pay Us: Health Insurers to Supreme Court)

The health insurers have been asking the court to make the U.S. government make good on what the insurers assumed were promises to make payments related to a temporary Affordable Care Act subsidy program, the ACA risk corridors program. ACA program architects said the risk corridors program would use cash from successful ACA exchange plan issuers to help struggling issuers.

The program collected only enough cash from thriving issuers to pay a small part of the amount the struggling issuers were expecting to receive, and ACA opponents in Congress blocked U.S. Department of Health and Human Services efforts to use other sources of money to make the program payments.

The new Supreme Court order lets the insurers save money by skipping the step of giving the court 40 printed copies of background materials.

Justices who believe they may have a conflict of interest sometimes take no part in decisions about parties’ appendix printing requests. In the ACA risk corridors cases, all of the justices participated in the decision to let the health insurers save appendix paper.

The court refused to take up a number of other cases, including:

  • Norma L. Cooke v. Jackson National Life Insurance Company, a life insurance policy premium payment grace period case.
  • Rickey Newsome v. RSL Funding LLC et al., a structured settlement annuity case.
  • Juanita Nichols v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance, a long-term disability insurance case.
  • John Bucsek v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, a securities representative arbitration case.

Resources

Links to the new Maine Community Health Options v. United States briefs are available here.

— Read Two Judges Blast USA in Risk Corridors Appeal Dissentson ThinkAdvisor.

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