MA Bill Requires Citizens to Purchase Health Insurance

April 5, 2006 ( - The Massachusetts legislature has passed a bill that requires all residents to obtain health insurance by July 1, 2007.

USA Today reports that uninsured individuals who refuse to buy coverage could lose their state tax exemption, which is worth about $150 per person. In subsequent years, those who refuse to buy will pay penalties equal to about half the cost of a health insurance plan.

Free coverage will be provided to individuals at or below the federal poverty line, which is $9,600 a year, and the state will subsidize coverage for those up to three times the federal poverty level, according to the news report.

The bill also mandates a $295 per worker annual assessment on employers who do not provide health care coverage.

Republican Governor Mitt Romney is expected to sign the bill.   “It’s about 95% of what I wanted,” he said.