Massachusetts Health Reforms: Expanded Access to Employer Coverage for Workers

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<p>Despite an economic downturn and rising health care costs, Massachusetts residents have experienced expanded access to employer-sponsored coverage since the state enacted comprehensive health reforms in 2006, according to <a href="/publications/journal-article/2009/oct/massachusetts-health-reform-employer-coverage-employees">a study</a> published today in <em>Health Affairs</em>. </p>
<p>The findings are the latest in a series of updates on implementation of the Massachusetts reforms funded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. </p>
<p>In comparing the results of three rounds of interviews with several thousand employed adults ages 18 to 64, researchers Sharon K. Long and Karen Stockley of the Urban Institute found that the percentage whose employers made health care available to any workers remained high—about 90 percent under health reform—while more workers reported that their employer had made coverage available to them. </p>
<p>While premiums and out-of-pocket costs have increased for some employees in smaller companies, workers overall reported a high degree of satisfaction with their employer-sponsored health plans. </p>
<p>"Despite the economic downturn in 2008, our findings show a continued commitment by Massachusetts employers to providing workers access to quality health care, even those in smaller firms where some employees have had to shoulder a higher financial burden for premiums," said Long, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. "Washington policymakers should look closely at the Massachusetts example as they work to enact national health care reform."</p>