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Newsletter Article


Massachusetts Health Reform

July 1st was the official start date of new responsibilities for adult residents and employers, according to the state's comprehensive Health Care Reform enacted in 2006. But given the time it takes to inform the public, set up the necessary coverage options and rules, and overcome enrollment delays, residents will actually have until January 1, 2009, to obtain "minimum creditable coverage" before financial penalties are assessed under the individual mandate. This past spring, the state defined the minimum set of benefits that will apply under this individual mandate. It has developed regulations and a schedule that define the level of premiums considered "affordable" for individuals and families at different income levels (the mandate applies only if affordable coverage is available). It also has adjusted regulations on employers' offering of pre-tax, payroll deduction (Section 125) plans.

Further, the state and multiple stakeholder groups began major outreach campaigns to inform residents about health coverage options and subsidies available to them, and to enroll them into health plans. On May 1, the "Commonwealth Connector"—the public authority created to implement significant portions of the new reforms—launched Commonwealth Choice health plans. Employers and individuals can choose among 42 health plan options, which they can compare and purchase on the Connector Web site. Upcoming months will be dedicated primarily to enrollment.

For More Information
See: Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Web site

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