06/26/2012 12:58 pm ET

Health Care Companies May Sue In Event Of Reform's Repeal

The health care battles could just be getting started.

If health care reform is repealed this week, health care companies may file lawsuits in an aim to win back money spent trying to comply with the law, according to legal experts interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. Since certain aspects of the law took effect, companies and providers have taken a hit, absorbing costs like discounts on prescription drugs and cuts in reimbursements to doctors.

The Supreme Court will likely rule on the future of health care reform later this week, and the implications for industry and individuals could be huge. In the case of repeal, some of the sickest Americans could lose discounted coverage they’ve already come to rely on, while many health care companies will likely roll back the adjustments they’ve already spent money to make.

One big cost of health care reform to companies: Paying for drug discounts for seniors. So far, the law has saved seniors and disabled people on Medicare $3.7 billion, largely by closing the so-called “doughnut hole.” Before the law took effect, this coverage gap meant that many were forced to pay the full price for their medicines once they reached the limit on prescription drug spending.

In addition, the law cuts some federal health care spending and imposes new taxes and fees, much of which are paid for by hospitals and other health care providers, according to CNNMoney.

Still, one of the nation’s largest insurers says it will keep many of the major provisions of health care reform in place even if the Supreme Court repeals the law. UnitedHealthcare announced earlier this month that it would maintain some of the most popular measures of the law, including allowing children to stay on their parents health plans until age 26, covering preventative health services without co-pays, eliminating lifetime limits on policies and other provisions.

The company cited controlling “rising health care costs” as one reason for keeping the measures in place, according to CBS News.