A while back, Bob reported on the new Massachusetts health insurance program. Well, some new details have come out, and (as usual) we're on the case:
■ Mass businesses can avoid the $295 fine...er, uh, "fee" if at least 25% of their full-time workers are enrolled in their health plan, or if the company contributes at least 33% of the premium cost. That's actually a lower percentage than what most employers pay now [ed: oops!].
■ On the other hand, employers won't be allowed to count employees receiving health insurance from other sources (e.g. through their spouse's employer or government programs).
■ And, the "fee" requirement applies to businesses with more than 10 full-time workers.
■ Massachusetts' Division of Health Care Finance and Policy is projecting that the "fee" will affect about 8% of the state's 35,000 eligible companies (which represents less than 2% of all Massachusetts' employers). They're hoping to raise about $26 million, which they plan to use to subsidize health insurance for low-income individuals.
Under this new proposal, employers would have to inform the state about whether their workers were offered employer-sponsored health insurance and whether each employee accepted or declined. Workers who decline the employer's offer and don't have alternative coverage will be required to file a form acknowledging responsibility for medical care. It's not clear whether this will relieve the employer of the $295 "fee."