Massachusetts health insurers and officials are rushing to develop the products uninsured residents may have to buy to meet the state’s new health coverage ownership requirement.
The state adopted the new health finance package in April 2006.
One section will require most Massachusetts residents who do not have religious or philosophical objections to owning health coverage to have “minimum creditable” coverage by July 1, and for the state’s new Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority to make a menu of plans designed for individuals and small employers available May 1.
The timetable established by state lawmakers is ambitious, but “we haven’t missed any deadlines yet,” says Connector spokesman Dick Powers.
The Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, Boston, also continues to believe in the effort to require universal coverage, according to MAHP Vice President Eric Linzer.
“We’re optimistic about the law,” Linzer says. “We’re committed to the law.”
Massachusetts residents with incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level qualify for free health coverage through state insurance programs, and residents with incomes ranging from 100% to 300% of the federal poverty level now qualify to buy subsidized coverage through a state program that took effect Jan. 1.
The Connector set up the subsidized program for moderate income state residents.
Currently, the Connector is setting up the program that is supposed to go live May 1. That program will provide health coverage for residents who have incomes over 300% of the federal poverty level.
The new Connector program, which is supposed to have products ready for purchase by May 1, is supposed to offer individuals, families and small groups a wide variety of affordable health coverage products that meet state quality standards.