In the days before Christmas, Congress' tax reform bill was signed into law. While there many ramifications for Massachusetts as a result of this new law, I want to focus on one area in particular: the individual mandate.
The individual mandate requires people to have health coverage that meets minimum coverage and affordability standards, or else pay a penalty. It was implemented at the federal level through the Affordable Care Act in 2010, but Massachusetts has had a state individual mandate since health reform (also referred to as Chapter 58) was passed in 2006.
The recently passed federal tax reform bill repealed the federal individual mandate. The Massachusetts mandate we created under Chapter 58 remains in effect.
The Massachusetts individual mandate reflects Chapter 58’s emphasis on shared responsibility from every sector of the Commonwealth. The law asks individuals, businesses, and government to contribute to the shared goal of universal coverage. It is a crucial reason why 97.5% of Massachusetts residents have health insurance.
In order to maintain and grow that level of coverage, Massachusetts needs a stable market where both healthy and sick people buy into health coverage which helps balance risk and makes health coverage more affordable for everyone. The Health Connector has made it clear that "Massachusetts will continue to promote and enforce its individual mandate, recognizing its importance as a fundamental piece of a successful health care marketplace."
For more information on the individual mandate, visit the Massachusetts Health Connector website.
Additionally, Massachusetts Open Enrollment continues through January 23. This means that residents can still sign up for health insurance by visiting https://mahealthconnector.optum.com/individual/.