January 11, 2013 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has proposed changes to the state’s universal health care law in anticipation of provisions of the federal health reform law.
Under the proposed legislation, effective June 30, the Fair Share Contribution Program would be eliminated. The program was established under the Commonwealth’s 2006 health care reform law and mandates that employers with 11 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTE) make a “fair and reasonable” contribution toward the health care costs of its full-time workers, or pay a $295 per FTE assessment (see “MA House Overrides Vetoes of Health Care Bill”). Patrick noted that the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) has a similar policy for employers with more than 50 employees, effective in 2014, that could result in double-penalties if the two policies were to coexist.
“By eliminating the Fair Share Program, this bill will save significant administrative costs for Massachusetts employers; allow time to prepare for the implementation of the ACA provision; and ensure the state is streamlining possibly duplicative programs and assessments,” Patrick said.
The proposed legislation would also eliminate the state’s Medical Security Program (MSP) by the end of the year. MSP provides qualifying individuals receiving unemployment insurance benefits with health care coverage. Like the Fair Share Program, MSP will no longer be necessary under the ACA. “Through the ACA, individuals currently enrolled under MSP will be able to access subsidized health coverage through our existing state insurance programs like MassHealth and those offered at the Health Connector,” Patrick noted.