Mass. law about to take effect - some interesting points

Feb 10, 2007

  1. Crabcake Johnny
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    Crabcake Johnny Guru

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    I just finished reading the Mass. law requiring everyone to be covered by this July. Some very interesting reading:

    *For the tax year of 2007 everyone who files must list the health insurance they have had by July of 2007 on their state tax return.

    *Anyone who does not have coverage must have a certificate from Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector - for example if they don't have coverage due to religious reasons.

    *Anyone in violation will lose their personal exemption - worth $3,600 and be responsible in 2008 for half of what their premium would have been. Failure to remit this fine could result on a wage levy.

    *Anyone over 300% of the federal poverty level must have health insurance. If a company doesn't provide it you must pay the premium in full. 300% of FPL for a family of 4 is $60,000. So by July if you're a family of 4 making over $60,000 in household income you're either buying health insurance or you're in for some steep fines. (Maybe they'll rethink that plasma TV.)

    *Anyone from 100% to 300% of the FPL will apply for assistance to the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority which will determine the level of assistance. After the level of assistance is determined you are required to maintain coverage.

    *Anyone 100% or below will get free "basic" coverage.

    *All employers with 10 or more full time employee will be required to offer health insurance - even if it's a cafeteria plan. Failure to comply will mean a $295 per employee assessment. Also, if your employees use $50,000 or more of the state's free healthcare the employer will be fined from 10% to 100% of the state's medical costs. New tax breaks will be given to employers offering health insurance to off-set the cost of insurance.

    *State will have a website publishing all health insurance premiums along with the costs doctor, hospital and pharmacies charge for their services as well as quality info. Every doctor will be required to submit their charges for basic care servies. That info will be published to people can search for doctors and hospitals based on what they charge.

    EXTREMELY interesting stuff! Very well thought out.
     
  2. Crabcake Johnny
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    Here are some of my thoughts:

    1) The group market is gonna explode since employers with 10+ employees now has to offer some form of health insurance.

    2) The individual market will be hurt. Just think of the countless thousands of people who have indie plans and work for companies that don't offer coverage. Starting in July all of those companies will now have plans - which means everyone will dump their indie coverage.

    3) From the way I'm reading this law the only people who will need indie coverage will be the self-employed and people working for companies with less than 10 employees - an incredibally small percentage of the population.

    If this actually works it'll be the model for every state in the U.S. IMHO within the next 10 years 50% of all states will have mandatory coverage mirroring the Mass. law and within 20 years every state in the country will have mandatory coverage.

    This is a pure feeding frenzy for brokers of group plans.
     
  3. fla2cali
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    fla2cali Super Genius

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    John, do you think it will hurt small business owners with 10 or more employees to be forced to supply health coverage, even with a tax break? Maybe it won't be so bad if they offer sec 125 plans. This will be interesting.

    f2c
     
    fla2cali, Feb 10, 2007
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  4. Crabcake Johnny
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    I don't think so. I need to read further into the law but I don't see anything requiring them to cover the employee's entire family or even pick up the entire premium for just the employee. For example, the employer could offer to pick up half the employee's premium but if they want to add the family the employee could be required to pick up 100% of the additional cost.

    Then you go by the way the law reads. So for example - an employee gets offered coverage - employer picks up half the tab. Rest of family is uncovered but if he's 100% of FLP it's free for his family, Under 300% it's subsidized, and over 300% he's on the hook for getting his family covered. I do not read the law as stating that employers must cover the employee's entire family and off-set the premiums.

    I'd watch all the squaking about how many how many small businesses this will put under. Probably almost none. These are the same doomsday forecasters who said a smoking ban in bars and restaurants would kill them. In fact they have higher profits since they attract more customers.
     
  5. salpro22
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    I like the idea of penalizing individuals who elect not to obtain health insurance. The statistics after a few years will yield an interesting perspective about who cannot afford insurance (i.e, lower income individuals and people who elect to buy a mercedes benz vs. protecting their assets), and those who elect to not get covered. This bill seems to offset the costs of insurance for lower income individuals, so that leaves the benzes.
     
    salpro22, Feb 10, 2007
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  6. James
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    For the life of me I don't see how any State has this kind of Power? I suspect or hope the State of Mass spends their riches defending this plan at the Supreme Court which hopefully they lose. Force compliance with Auto Insurance is base on the idea of the Roads being owned by the Government, not really they are public yet a distinction some hang their hats on.

    I suppose now bad habits and improper lifestyle declared by some body of the high and powerful (the government which some hail as god) will now have to fine and punish people if you smoke or don't exercise enough? It only follows if the State now has interest in your physical condition such as underwriting.
     
    James, Feb 10, 2007
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  7. Crabcake Johnny
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    The only people screwed by this law are middle and upper middle class people who are living above their means. This will be a wake up call and I'll be happy to see those people who claim they can't afford health insurance yet have a 5,000 sq ft house and that new SUV get it rammed up their kiester by Mass.

    I'd love to be an agent in Mass. in July:

    "Oh, so your too busy to go over quotes? No problem - have fun when the state garnishes your wages and keeps your tax refund."

    If you haven't figured it out, I'm all for this. To me this is as close to perfect as it's gonna get; the poor get free health insurance, the strugging get subsidized and people with the means simply have to make lifestyle changes.

    Health insurace should be mandatory and auto should be optional. We have it backwards. I'm pulling for this to work and watch it go national.
     
  8. Crabcake Johnny
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    The states have the power to ban smoking in workplaces and restaurants. The states also have a right to protect themselves from millions in healthcare expenses by people with the means to get insured yet choose not to. Supreme Court - if it gets that far - will back up Mass.
     
  9. James
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    As the Court stands now it probably will but I'm confident that the Courts will change within the next pick of a new SCJ, or hopefully one never really knows. I don't agree with anything you posted about this.

    Yet two obvious statements to come to the surface that I really like.

    1. I like the idea of penalizing individuals who elect not to obtain health insurance.

    2. "Oh, so your too busy to go over quotes? No problem - have fun when the state garnishes your wages and keeps your tax refund."

    I see this all the time, if you have interest in something some like the idea of others being force into compliance. Nothing new under the sun, our freedoms to some is only as deep as one's pocketbook and their moral superioty.
     
    James, Feb 10, 2007
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  10. Crabcake Johnny
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    I'm all in favor of forcing people to protect themselves and families. Those two kids don't have a choice when their idiot father opts not have get his family covered, yet they eat out 3 times a week, two new cars and a fat house. I deal with this all the time - husband 45, wife 42, two kids - no insurance and couldn't care less. If you want to take yourself down then fine, but don't let it affect your family. These are the same asses who don't get coverage, yet their son gets cancer and they're on Dateline NBC crying about the healthcare system.

    Lots of insurance is mandatory - workers comp for example. Heck, why not let employers choose not to offer it? Because the state ends up taking it up the ass with claims. Homeowners insurance is mandatory if you have a loan and full coverage is mandatory if you have an auto loan.

    Now - why the hell is full coverage auto mandatory if you have a loan? ONLY to cover the financial interests of the lending company - that's it. What a scam that is.

    You'll just have to suck this one up James - mandatory health coverage - be it universal or state - is coming.....and it's coming fast.


    Oh...and the I like the idea of penalizing individuals who elect not to obtain health insurance line was from Salpro - not me.
     
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