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Massachusetts Employers Continue to Offer Coverage Post-Health Reform

When Massachusetts enacted its health reform plan in 2006, some critics voiced concerns that many firms would drop coverage or otherwise cut costs by tightening eligibility standards, increasing workers' premiums, or scaling back on the scope of coverage. But a new study finds no evidence that employer-based coverage was "crowded out."

The study, published by Health Affairs and supported by The Commonwealth Fund, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was based on a survey of working-age adults before and after the implementation of the reform. It found that the share of firms offering coverage remained constant, at 90 percent. The researchers, Sharon Long and Paul Masi of the Urban Institute, found no change in the proportion of workers who reported receiving an offer of coverage. This was true across all workers, even for groups considered more likely to be dropped, such as part-timers or workers who had been at their jobs for less than a year.

Similarly, no changes were seen in the share of workers' premiums or in the scope of services covered, the range of provider choices, or the quality of care available under employer plans.

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