MA Officials Propose another Bump to Penalty for Uninsured

December 11, 2009 ( – The Massachusetts Department of Revenue has proposed another increase in penalties for residents who do not have health insurance coverage as mandated by a 2006 law.

Business Insurance reports that under the proposed guidelines, the maximum penalty next year for those with incomes that exceed 300% of the federal poverty level would be $93 for each month that an individual has no health insurance coverage, or $1,116 a year. In 2009, the maximum penalty for noncompliance was $89 a month – which was bumped from $76 a month in 2008 (see MA Residents Face Higher Health Care Assessment).

Penalties for those with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level also would increase, ranging from $19 to $58 a month, depending on income, according to Business Insurance. The range in 2009 was $17 to $52 a month.

Penalties do not apply for individuals with incomes that are less than 150% of the federal poverty level. They are eligible for free health insurance coverage, with premiums paid by the state.

A report released in April indicated the state’s bill for providing health care to employees and their families who work for large companies increased 24.6% in the last fiscal year, to $793.7 million (see Large Firms Show Heavy Use of Mass. State Health Care Subsidies). The number of employees and their dependents covered by state programs increased 12% in 2008, compared to 2007, according to the report from the state’s Division of Health Care Finance and Policy.

However, the report found that the Massachusetts’ objective of universal health care coverage for residents has nearly been met with more than 97% having health insurance.