Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007
Top: MBA Insurance Agency President Terence J. Welsh, CPCU, AIS. Bottom: Robert A. Levitt, CLU, CHFC of MB Insurance LLC.
MBA Insurance Agency workshop outlines Mass. Health Care Reform Law
MBA member benefits include insurance resources
On Dec. 18, the MBA Insurance Agency held a free workshop for MBA members, providing many attorneys with necessary information to make informed decisions about health insurance. With the recent enactment of the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law, requiring all uninsured residents of the commonwealth to obtain health insurance, many firms and attorneys are in the process of re-evaluating their insurance options.
MBA Insurance Agency President Terence J. Welsh, CPCU, AIS, and Robert A. Levitt, CLU, CHFC of MB Insurance LLC, provided participating members a brief overview of the mandates outlined by the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law. Tailoring the workshop to the participants, most discussion revolved around the impact of the new law on employers with fewer than 11 full-time equivalent employees. Levitt outlined different small group health insurance plans offered by various Massachusetts carriers, to give members an opportunity to review potential policies.
“The MBA can access all plan designs,” said Levitt. “If you call with a request to find a plan with a $25 co-pay, we can transfer you on the spot to a specialist to get you a package. We will work with you directly to set-up a plan.”
The new legislation has established a Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, to connect individuals and small businesses with affordable insurance through private insurers. This Connector Authority also provides Commonwealth Care, a new health insurance product available to low-wage earners.
As a result of the new Reform Law, there are penalties for individuals who do not have health insurance by Jan.1, 2008. Those individuals will have a $219 bump on their 2007 tax return. If you are a Mass. resident and do not have insurance in 2008, you will be fined 50 percent of the lowest priced plan that Connector Authority provides, based on your age, family and location, with the fine accumulating each month against your tax refund.
“Starting on Jan. 1, 2008, insurance companies will be mailing a 1099HC form to all insurers,” said Levitt. “There will be a new spot on the tax return form for 1099HC, with specific information that needs to be answered. This will be the self-reporting way [to the state] to see if you are covered.”
Many workshop participants voiced concerns about pre-existing conditions and the penalties related to changing from one insurance carrier to another.
“The MBA works with Levitt because companies change their rates all the time,” said Welsh. “Plans keep getting more complicated instead of less complicated. The MBA makes sure members have a resource to learn about insurance and get questions answered.”
Attorney Scott Pitman commended the state for the new health care reform. In the past he has had clients move to this state for its insurance coverage options. Fellow workshop participant Kimberly A. Kramer of Bertuli & McLaughlin, Boston, attended to review options for her firm while they re-evaluate their insurance plans.
For more information about coverage options, visit the MBA Insurance Web site, or call (617) 338-0581 or (413) 788-7878.